Nowhere to hide
Season one of Ozark saw Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde pushed to the limit to keep his family safe. Season two promises to make his life every bit as difficult, writes Adrian Polykandrites.
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney are back for a second season of Netlix’s gritty and occasionally ugly drama series Ozark.
Season one saw financial adviser Marty Byrde ( Bateman) uproot his family from their life in Chicago after his business partner was caught stealing from a Mexican cartel and wound up in a barrel of acid.
Marty was all set to finish up in a barrel of his own until some fast- talking convinced his cartel connection that he could launder truckloads of dirty money from a resort town on a lake in the Ozarks.
Nothing went to plan, of course, with a steady stream of unsavoury types combining with other obstacles to keep Marty from meeting his promised targets by deadline, which would of course result in his untimely death and that of his loved ones.
Just when he thought he’d dug his way out of a giant hole and solved all of his problems with an eleventh- hour idea that would settle his debts with and unite the season’s two biggest baddies, one of the villains quite literally blew another’s brains out.
After a brief separation, Marty is back with his wife Wendy ( Linney) and kids Charlotte ( Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah ( Skylar Gaertner), who by now all have a pretty good idea of what they’re up against.
“Marty and his family have had to readjust what their opinion of ‘ normal’ is,” says Bateman, who also serves as an executive producer and directs several episodes.
“They’ve gone through a pretty interesting year.”
Interesting is quite an understatement.
Linney adds: “The thing that happens that’s so interesting about all four members of the Byrde family is what they’ll learn about each other in crisis.
“There’s the shock, and then they have to sort of get to know each other again with this added information.
“They’re becoming criminals. They did not have a strong criminal inclination in the forefront, although it was probably lurking behind their desires for a long time. It just has emerged now.”
The intense season finale – which contained one of the most horrifying scenes in recent TV history – saw shorttempered heroin farmer Darlene Snell ( Lisa Emery) kill Marty’s cartel boss Camino Del Rio ( Esai Morales).
Del Rio’s death didn’t come until after a deal had been agreed upon, however, so there’s still business to be done.
Replacing Del Rio as the cartel’s conduit is ruthless attorney Helen Pierce ( played by two- time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer).
Meanwhile, Marty’s righthand woman Ruth Langmore ( Julia Garner) is struggling to come to grips with whacking her uncles to save Marty. And just in case things weren’t messy and complicated enough, Ruth’s cold- blooded dad ( Trevor Long) has been released from prison and they might not see eye to eye.
“Everyone expects that Ruth is gonna be in a life of crime because of the family, but she really wants something bigger and better,” Garner says.
“That’s why she works all the time … because she’s always hoping for a better life.”
Ruth also needs to keep the truth from her cousins.
“The guilt is just killing her. She feels like she’s cracking, and she doesn’t have confidence,” Garner says. “In the end, I think season two is about Ruth trying to get her independence and not rely on other people.”
The mess surrounding the characters of Ozark shows no signs of being cleaned up – did I mention that Marty’s teenage son has an infatuation with guns? – which might be bad news for the Byrde family, but it’s good news for those of us watching.
Ozark, Streaming on Netflix from Friday, August 31. Visit netflix. com. au
All in the family: Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in the Netflix drama Ozark.