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Netflix’s drama series Ozark got even bigger this year after season three dropped on the streaming platform. Fans were once again immersed in the aesthetically dark, tonally gritty story depicting white-collar crime in the underbelly of Missouri. Season three saw the Byrdes fully committing to their life serving the Mexican drug cartel with now no way out.

Is Ozark based on a true story?

Ozark follows financial worker Marty Byrde (played by Jason Bateman) and his lobbyist wife Wendy (Laura Linney), who work for a Mexican drug cartel.

Season one saw Marty and his family fleeing from their middle-class existence in Chicago and relocating to the Ozarks after the drug gang came after them.

They were forced to relocate after Marty’s money laundering scheme went sour and the cartel bumped off his business partner.

Marty managed to convince the cartel to allow him to continue working for them in the Ozarks.


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Somehow, Marty made it work and the Byrdes have been going strong with the scheme ever since.

Ozark was created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, who also worked on the Ben Affleck-fronted thriller The Accountant.

Speaking previously to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dubuque said: “Money fascinates me.

“How we view money, the power of getting it, the pressure of holding onto it.”

He added: “The lake is both a real thing and a metaphor for capitalism.”

Dubuque also revealed to the publication how he chose to set the drama in the Ozarks because he’d worked at the Alhonna Resort and Marina during his teenage years.

He said the Ozarks had a special place in his heart even if he did describe it as the “Redneck Riviera”.

While elements of Ozark are rooted in reality, the series appears to be a fictitious story.

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Among some of the real-life aspects of Ozark are riverboat casinos, which exist in states including Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Indiana because it’s illegal to have them on dry land in some parts.

There’s also the Mexican drug war, which is still very much in play and gives Ozark a contemporary resonance.

Over the course of Ozark, the storyline has been shaped. Actress Linney had input early on into the role of Wendy to flesh her out to be multi-faceted.

Speaking to The Wrap in 2018, she said: “When I first got a call and was asked to read the script, I really liked it, but the character of Wendy — well, she needed some work. She was basically just a wife.


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“So then I met with Jason [Bateman, her co-star, director and executive producer] over coffee in New York, and we talked about the role and where I felt it needed to go. And he said yes, they would do that.”

She continued: “Our showrunner, Chris Mundy, and Jason have created such a collaborative environment. It’s been so liberating.

“We started with our characters, and then added some Miracle-Gro to see where it would take them.”

From her words, it sounds like the story has been organically evolving since the start and continues down a fictional route.

Ozark seasons 1 to 3 are streaming on Netflix now

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