Ozark is an American crime drama thriller web series created by Bill Dubuque and produced by Media Rights Capital. Jason Bateman stars in the series; he also directed the first two and last two episodes. The first season is composed of nine one-hour episodes and a final 80 minute episode; it was released on Netflix on July 21, 2017.
Bateman portrays financial planner Marty Byrde, and Laura Linney portrays a homemaker turned real estate agent Wendy Byrde. Marty suddenly relocates the family from a Chicago suburb to a summer resort community in the Missouri Ozarks after a money laundering scheme goes wrong, and he must pay off a debt to a Mexican drug lord. The series was renewed for a 10-episode second season on August 15, 2017.
The show is set at a modest waterfront resort at Lake of the Ozarks, inspired by the Alhonna Resort and Marina where series creator Dubuque worked as a dock hand while attending school in Missouri during the 1980s. Most of the shooting locations are in the Atlanta area at Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier, rather than at the Lake of the Ozarks, because of tax breaks offered by the State of Georgia. The film crew constructed a set in Georgia after extensively studying the Alhonna Resort property. Some scenes are filmed at Chicago locations. Only a few scenes from the pilot were shot in the actual city of Lake Ozark, Missouri, which include shots of the locally famous "Welcome To Lake Of the Ozarks" sign and the "Injun Joe Muffler Man" statue. The series was renewed for a 10-episode second season on August 15, 2017.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Sugarwood"||Jason Bateman||Story by : Bill Dubuque & Mark Williams
Teleplay by : Bill Dubuque
|July 21, 2017|
|After his business partner cheats a dangerous client, financial adviser Marty must devise a radical plan to save his and his family's lives.|
|2||"Blue Cat"||Jason Bateman||Story by : Bill Dubuque & Mark Williams
Teleplay by : Bill Dubuque
|July 21, 2017|
|In the Ozarks, Marty struggles to find a local business he can use for money laundering, while his kids make new friends but neglect a crucial duty.|
|3||"My Dripping Sleep"||Daniel Sackheim||Ryan Farley||July 21, 2017|
|Marty finds a way to control Ruth. Wendy worms her way into a job. FBI Agent Evans confronts Marty & Wendy. Looking for another business to invest in, Marty digs for info on the strip bar. Ruth reveals her big picture plans to her family. Marty has the song "Still the Same" stuck in his head.|
|4||"Tonight We Improvise"||Daniel Sackheim||Paul Kolsby||July 21, 2017|
|Marty hires Ruth to pull off a heist. Agent Petty forges a relationship with a member of the Langmore family. Jonah exhibits disturbing behavior. Charlotte feels she cannot trust her parents. Bobby Dean visits his boss, Jacob Snell, after finding out about Marty's latest actions.|
|5||"Ruling Days"||Andrew Bernstein||Martin Zimmerman||July 21, 2017|
|Marty decides to invest in the religious sector, unaware he will disrupt a discreet business operation. A surprise visitor shows up at the Byrde home.|
|6||"Book of Ruth"||Andrew Bernstein||Whit Anderson||July 21, 2017|
|Jacob educates Marty on his business. Ruth devises and sets in motion a deadly plan. Rachel learns Marty is cooking the books at the Blue Cat Lodge.|
|7||"Nest Box"||Ellen Kuras||Alyson Feltes||July 21, 2017|
|To stop Jacob from carrying out his threat, Marty makes an offer. Agent Petty gets what he needs to turn Russ. Charlotte grows desperate to escape.|
|8||"Kaleidoscope"||Ellen Kuras||Ryan Farley||July 21, 2017|
|In a flashback to 10 years prior, Wendy struggles with depression, Del asks Marty to be his financial adviser, and Agent Petty faces a family crisis.|
|9||"Coffee, Black"||Jason Bateman||Whit Anderson||July 21, 2017|
|Russ learns Agent Petty's true identity and makes plans to murder, steal and flee. Wendy stumbles on an ideal business to add to the Byrde portfolio.|
|10||"The Toll"||Jason Bateman||Chris Mundy||July 21, 2017|
|During his next sermon, Mason falters. Wendy and the kids are caught trying to flee their home. Marty brokers a deal between Jacob and Del.|
Ozark has received positive reviews, particularly for Bateman's non-comedic performance. On Metacritic, the series has a score of 67 out of 100 based on 28 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 65% approval rating with an average score of 6.8 out of 10 based on 46 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ozark hasn't yet reached the same level as the classic crime dramas to which it will inevitably be compared, but its satisfyingly complex plot – and a gripping performance from Jason Bateman – suggest greater potential."
Brian Lowry of CNN wrote, "While the fish-out-of-water concept is one of TV's oldest, Ozark carves out its own path with clever twists — including a late-in-the-run flashback explaining how the cartel came into his life — and the sheer strength of the performances." TV critic Sonia Saraiya of Variety wrote that Ozark is "smart, well-crafted, and says something," and that the series "comes together under Bateman's disarming and deceptively complex performance as Marty."
Critics compared Ozark positively to Breaking Bad, both of which involve a seemingly normal protagonist suddenly immersed in a world of crime. According to Film Daily, "Once you get past the surface similarities, Ozark shines as something special and inventive, an intense crime opera where the scenery is as much the star as anyone in the cast."
Each episode of Ozark begins with a recurring vignette consisting of a white O that grows in size on a black background, followed by a white crosshair that emerges at the center. The crosshair divides the O into quadrants, each of which shows a picture that symbolizes a major event or theme in that episode, as well as spelling out the letters Z-A-R-K.
Some Hollywood types, including Bateman, have been visiting Alhonna — as well as area restaurants, attractions and police officials — this spring and summer scouting locations, taking photos and measuring dimensions.
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