At first glance Ozark might just be your typical “family man turns into a criminal” show. But it’s not. As the old saying goes; “don’t judge a book by its cover” and that saying applies wholeheartedly to Ozark. It’s dark, new and could be the new Bloodline. Funny man Jason Bateman continues his career renaissance by starring as Marty Byrde, a man who has to launder $500 million for a Mexican drug dealer in 5 years or face the consequences. The stakes are high and the show looks to deliver.
The first episode, which is directed by Bateman pretty much throws us straight into the middle of the action. From the looks of it Marty Byrde is just a normal guy who is a pretty good financial adviser. He lives in Chicago with his family and is fine with the way his life is. Boy that assumption couldn’t be more wrong. What we find out almost within the first 20 minutes is that Marty along with his financial partner, Bruce are laundering money for the Mexican cartel.
The bad news is that Marty’s partner Bruce has been stealing money from the cartel without Marty’s knowledge, which brings forth a domino effect of death and destruction by one of the cartel’s front men, Del. Marty is spared but only under the assumption that he can pay back the money his partner stole and move to Ozark, Missouri to start laundering money there.
Ozark might seem similar to a lot of TV shows you’ve seen before but it’s not. Jason Bateman is cast in a role that is unlike anything he’s ever done before. Barely a smile cracks from his face the entire episode and he displays amazing range throughout the episode. Laura Linney who plays Marty’s wife Wendy already has an interesting story arch that will most likely play out through the rest of the series. Their kids are played by relative unknowns in Sofia Hublitz (Louie) and Skylar Gaertner (Daredevil), so it will be interesting to see their roles expand as the show goes on.
As of now Ozark could go several different routes. But I’m invested and that’s what is most important. It’s a ten hour investment, but in the end I think it will be worth the ride. It’s been a while since Netflix let me down with a crime show. B+
Ozark debuts on Netflix July 21st.