‘Ozark’ season 2: Netflix’s tale of drugs and crime returns

Jason Bateman in Ozark

Jason Bateman in Ozark

Jason Bateman stars in, directs and produces the gripping series.

Season two of Ozark released last week on Netflix and if you haven’t been able to catch up, here’s what you need to know.

A Chicago financial advisor, Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), has been quietly laundering money with his partner, Bruce (Josh Randall), for a drug kingpin named Camino Del Rio (Esai Morales), working for a cartel run by Omar Navarro.

Upon discovering $8 million of his money missing, Del Rio dispenses with Bruce, but agrees to spare Marty after hearing his plan to replace the missing money – and move the operation to the Ozarks.

Marty quickly uproots his family – his philandering wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their two teenage kids, Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) – and sets about finding both a home and a struggling business in the lazy lake resort through which to launder his cash.

While Wendy finds an adequate house for the family to live in, there’s a catch – the crotchety current occupant, Buddy Dyker (Harris Yulin) comes with it, until he dies.

Meanwhile , Marty finds the run down Blue Cat Lodge as the perfect venue for an “angel investor” to bring it back to life for longtime owner Rachel Garrison (Jordana Spiro).

Laura Linney and Jason Bateman in Ozark

But while attempting to find another way to generate cash flow, by offering to build a church for a boating preacher (Michael Mosley), Marty runs afoul of a local drug lord, Jacob Snell (Peter Mullan).

Snell, with his tough-as-nails wife Darlene (Lisa Emery), has been using the preacher to distribute heroin by stuffing it inside hymnals, as well as trying to run his own money laundering operation, which Marty has interrupted by taking over a sleazy strip joint, Lickety Splitz, to pass his own cash.

Besides Snell, Marty also has to deal with the backward Langmore clan, whose 19-year-old “matriarch” Ruth (Julia Garner), wrangles her redneck uncles and cousins as they plot to rid Marty of his bounty, under indirect supervision of her menacing, imprisoned father Cade (Trevor Long).

Her oldest uncle Russ (Marc Menchaca) unknowingly becomes connected with FBI agent Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner), who has come to the Ozarks in his continuing search for a way to entrap Del Rio’s Mexican boss – and possibly the Byrdes.

Marty finds himself in a race against time to complete his commitment to Del – and thus save his family from peril – and steer clear of Snell and Petty, all the while trying to find a way to keep his family afloat while they navigate their new world.

The Byrdes find themselves in this new environment mainly due to a misstep by Marty’s business partner, though there are a few other contributing factors to the changes in their lives, says actor, director and executive producer Bateman.

Janet Mcteer in Ozark

“Initially, we find them in Chicago, deeply and comfortably set in their ways – both in what is obvious and what is not obvious, both domestically and with Marty’s work. But you start to see some cracks in both of those worlds – and pretty quickly you see it cracked completely open.

“They have to react to that and try to navigate these dangers.” Bateman, who besides his acting work in countless films and television series (including his role as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development), came to Ozark partly due to his passion for directing, as well.

“My agent called me, telling me he just read one of the best scripts he’d ever read,” he says. “I wasn’t really looking for a series, but he answered, ‘I know, but I can’t unread this thing’.

“I read it and totally agreed with him, but told him the only way I’d ever consider doing it was if I could direct them all. It would break my heart to just be the actor and watch somebody else have all the fun.”

“To be able to be involved in directing, acting and producing was just a joy of gluttony for me.”

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