Since its debut in 2022, CBS' Fire Country has quickly become one of the biggest breakout hits of the year, amassing an average of 8 million viewers per episode. And it's easy to see why. With high-stakes action, a talented cast and a captivating story -- of a group of felons seeking redemption by battling blazes in Northern California alongside elite firefighters -- it's no wonder why audiences are tuning in every week.
At the center of it all is Max Thieriot, an actor with a long history in Hollywood. As both the star and one of the show's creators, Thieriot has undoubtedly played a major role in its success. So who is the man behind the firefighting drama? Here's everything you need to know about Thieriot.
He's From A Small Town
Much like his role as Bode Donovan in Fire Country, Thieriot hails from Occidental, California, a small, census-designated place in Sonoma County with a population of just over 1,000 people. He told POPSUGAR that growing up in a rural community constantly at the mercy of forest fires significantly influenced his writing of the show.
"That drew me to wanting to create this world," he said. "It's something that I grew up around, and a lot of my friends do this job."
While he may have that classic small-town charm, Thieriot's Northern California roots run deep. His ancestors actually co-founded the San Francisco Chronicle, and other relatives of his have served as editors and publishers of the historic newspaper.
He Was A Child Star
If you think Thieriot looks familiar, that's likely because you caught one of his many performances as a child actor. He made his acting debut at the age of 16 in the 2004 film Catch That Kid alongside Kristen Stewart. He would go on to star in a number of teen films and shows including The Pacifier (2005), Nancy Drew (2007), Jumper (2008) and House at the End of the Street (2012).
In 2013, he took a break from the big screen and landed his first major recurring role as Dylan Massett in the hit drama Bates Motel. Over the course of five seasons, Thieriot became a fan favorite for his portrayal of Norman Bates' half-brother before joining the cast of SEAL Team in 2017. It was during his time there that he starting writing the script for Fire Country.
"In the beginning, I wasn't sure what the route was gonna be," he said in an interview with Collider. "In the beginning, my intentions were to try to create this world and pitch it, and then have them make a show, best case scenario. And then, the more into it I got and the deeper I got, and the more time I spent with it, the more I became attached to it. The further along I got, the control freak in me felt like I had to do it."
Lucky for us, he did.
He's a Dad
When he's not busy fighting fires on TV, Thieriot is likely spending time with his wife, Lexi Murphy, and their two sons. Murphy and Thieriot dated for seven years before getting engaged in 2012 in the Caribbean, where they first met as teenagers. They were married the following year and started their adorable family in 2015.
While Thieriot definitely has a lot on his plate, his Instagram feed is full of proof that he makes plenty of time for quality father-son bonding. In 2021, he posted a sweet photo holding up his two kids with the caption: "I've had lots of 'jobs' in my life but nothing compares to this one."
He's A Vintner
One of those "jobs?" Vintner. Yes, Thieriot followed in his family's footsteps (his father is a prominent grape grower and vineyard owner) and started his own wine brand, Senses, with two childhood friends. The vineyard is located just outside of his hometown of Occidental -- where he still resides with his family -- and the wine was even featured on Bates Motel.
"In between scenes, there have been quite a few occasions where we have talked wine," he told the Oregon Wine Press. "Lots of people on set are curious about the winemaking and grape-growing process. Vera, Freddie and Nestor are all wine enthusiasts. Our cast dinners are lots of fun, and we all try to bring different wines from different growing regions to taste."
According to Senses' website, the three founders partnered with critically acclaimed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown to create wines that "embody the natural and distinct characteristics of the vineyards from where the grapes are grown."
Will There Be a Season 2 of Fire Country?
Yes -- the hit CBS show was so popular that it was renewed for a second season only weeks after the first one premiered. There isn't an official release date yet, but it'll likely premiere around the same time the first season did, in October.
READ MORE: 'Fire Country' to Debut 4 New Country Songs Written for the Show by Country Superstars
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