Netflix’s 'Ozark' gives 'Breaking Bad' and other crime-dramas a run for their money

Netflix's "Ozark" aired its first season on July 21st, 2017. It stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrne, a financial advisor who finds himself in the midst of a money-laundering scheme that quickly goes south. (Rakka/Creative Commons)

Netflix's "Ozark" aired its first season on July 21st, 2017. It stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrne, a financial advisor who finds himself in the midst of a money-laundering scheme that quickly goes south. (Rakka/Creative Commons)

This summer, Netflix brought us the next crime-drama about a “good guy gone bad.” Chicago-based financial advisor, Marty Byrne, finds himself in the midst of a money-laundering scheme that quickly goes south. He then has to move to Missouri in attempt to save himself and his family and to gain a fresh start.

Jason Bateman stars as the financial advisor, Marty Byrne. We first meet him in the midst of getting hit with news that his wife has been cheating on him and that he is about to fall into a messy money scheme with a drug cartel. Very quickly the show escalates when the drug cartel comes after Byrne and his partner, Bruce, searching for millions of missing dollars. The cartel holds several at gunpoint, eventually shooting all but Byrne. Byrne, in the heat of the moment, convinces the cartel that he can recover the missing money in the “Ozarks,” a region in Missouri said to bring in millions of dollars from tourist flow in the area. Immediately on a timeline, Byrne returns home to tell his family the house is being put on the market and the family is moving out by the end of the week.  The pilot ends with Bateman alone in the woods crying and apologizing for the mess he got his family into. He then walks to edge of a cliff where the rest of the family join him and look out to the lake at the Ozarks.

Overall, the pilot episode had strong acting and sets up viewers with the right amount of questions to want to come back for more of the series. For example, the show ends with the family coming together overlooking their new home, yet it is clear throughout the entire pilot that the family has, for a while, dealt with an uncomfortable and tense family dynamic. I am curious to see how the shift from life in a major city to life in the wilderness will affect them.

On the other hand, one critique of the pilot was its pacing. It felt as though there were some points of the episode that were drawn out a bit too long, or that other points could have been emphasized more. Although this is only the first episode, and the balance of including just enough while not getting too far ahead in the plot is definitely important, I found myself tuning out of the episode at some points. It will be interesting to see how the pacing of the show will factor into the show development now that more of the plot is on the table.

‘Ozark’ aired as a Netflix original series on July 21st. The entire first season is available for streaming and the show signed off for a second season with a release date still to be announced.


Lucille Littlefield is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucille.littlefield@uconn.edu.