Heralded as one of television’s best crime dramas, season three sees performances by Jason Bateman and Laura Linney come to a masterful head. Ozark leads Netflix’s chart at number 2 in Australia (second only to Tiger King), and it’s pretty clear why.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series so far, we follow the Byrde family who are forced to relocate to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks region, after a money laundering scheme goes wrong. The family must then work for and appease a drug boss, whilst portraying the idyllic life of a normal American family to the townspeople.
Consisting of 10 episodes, the third season was a slow burn to start. The writing is at times simple bordering on soapie, but only as a means to push forward to the action and suspense, which hits overdrive in an unforgettable pair of final episodes. Now that the series knows its strength, it is arguably one of Netflix’s most successful original crime dramas, boasting various Emmy award wins in the last year.
Though Ozark stems from the fish-out-of-water concept, the series hunkers down and carves out its own mythos with clever twists and the directing of skilled actors. Whilst simultaneously shedding and embracing the surface level comparisons with Breaking Bad, Ozark’s third season is an especially inventive, intense, and thrilling crime opera – with locations as breathtaking and sinister as the storyline.
The strength of the series lies within the dark tone, directing, and brilliance of the performances by Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner. The show never slows down after the initial episode, optimising the “just one more episode” addiction. The Byrde family continue to thrive in the thick of the Navvaro cartel’s influence, which only adds to the chemistry and unapologetic violence. Ozark revels in its new-found footing, which ramps up the tension from previous seasons, and brings to light the magnificence of Laura Linney’s performance to date.
Ozark continues to battle the juxtaposed question held by Breaking Bad: how much you are willing to tell your family and let them in – as opposed to how much are you willing to keep quiet. Ozark is a family affair, building on family ties, and the stresses we go through – what you’re willing to give to one another for growth, support, and love – and as per the show’s many hints, the seemingly final dissolution of either their marriage, or their lives.
If you were a fan of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and Marriage Story, then Ozark deserves your attention from start to finish. What better way to spend family time, than with the Byrdes.
JOSHUA HALL HAINES