In appearances, the Byrdes are any other American nuclear family – dad Marty (Jason Bateman) is a white-collar owner of a financial firm, his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) a stay at home mum…at least when she isn’t off shagging some other bloke. Their two kids go to school, then come home to their large, well-decorated home.
At least they did until their ol’ pops decided to launder money for a drug cartel, who then became hacked off when his partner Bruce starts pinching from the profits, leading to the pair being held at gunpoint by a vengeful mobster. Bruce didn’t stand a chance, but Marty manages to talk his way out of it, promising to redeem himself by laundering money at an unbelievable rate.
How’s he going to do that? By fleeing to the Ozarks of course! It’s essentially like the yankee version of the Lake District – vast expanses of water bordered by small towns that get flooded with tourists every summer. Although, we admit the Ozarks’ locals are slightly different…unless Cumbria has a secret, meth-smoking, gun-wielding hick population we don’t know about.
Marty desperately scrambles to bring the Byrde family back together as everything around him crumbles – the FBI are on to him, and the cartel are lurking in the woods, waiting for him to mess up. The locals aren’t much help either, they sniff the Byrdes out straight away, forcing themselves into their increasingly complex narrative. But hey, at least the scenery is nice? And shot under Netflix’s expensive looking lens, Missouri really shines.
We meet a lot of characters – all of them deplorable in their own unique way – as we journey through seasons (and years) of dramatic misadventures. Obviously, not all of them make it to the third instalment – the show does not shy away from a brutal, bloody end – but for the ones that do, you’d be forgiven for forming sentimental attachments to them. Let’s just hope we don’t hate them all by the end of season four…
The gorgeous looking series has had consistently good reviews across the seasons, with Tim Dowling in The Guardian saying of the first: “Ozark repeatedly overturns dramatic clichés…it’s always convincing.” The Telegraph’s Ed Power agreed, calling it “deeply gripping.”
Reviewing season two, Christopher Horton of the Independent said the show is “a definite page-turner” that “goes to some incredibly dark places,” whilst Ed Cumming for the same paper said of the third season “it’s to the writers’ credit that the characters remain plausible while they take more and more extreme decisions.”
First shown July 2017. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.