Ozark “Sugarwood”

I’d heard a lot about Ozark.  Mostly I’d heard it was really popular with a lot of people I know, and then for some reason Netflix just canceled it.  Then again, Netflix tends to do that.  Only the huge, Stranger Things-caliber hit apparently can run for more than a few seasons.

Still, three in the can and a fourth and final one on the way, well, that’s actually rather respectable for Netflix.  Let’s see what it all means.

Marty Byrde has a problem:  his financial advisory company has been skimming money from a Mexican drug cartel.  Given this is a Mexican drug cartel, they don’t take kindly to a missing $8 million.  However, Marty does have one thing going for him:  he can talk very fast in a way that cartel contact Del can somehow fall for.  All Marty has to do is relocate to the Ozarks, as his now-dead partner planned to do, and launder the cartel’s money there.

First, of course, he needs to replace it.  And that means liquidating all of his assets in a short amount of time, a feat that doesn’t happen without raising a few legal eyebrows.  And then there’s Marty’s wife Wendy.  She hears a bit about what happened, and runs to…her lover.  And his advice is to take as much money as she could, grab the kids, and run for it.

Del catches her, tosses the lover off a high balcony, and then more or less threatens to keep Wendy in line…for now.  So, with their two teenage kids Charlotte and Jonah, the Byrdes move to the Ozarks where Marty has only a few months to remake the amount of money he said he could over the course of a couple years.

Oh, and he was completely talking out of his ass when he suggested all that.

Now, Marty is no Walter White, even if, like Mr. White, he is being played by an actor known more for his comedy work.  But Jason Bateman brings the right amount of sleaze to the role.  Marty is not a misunderstood guy.  He’s pretty rotten from the beginning.  He didn’t fall into crime to take care of his family.  He was already there.  He got greedy, and he got caught.  Or his partner did and Marty just knew how to talk to a cartel boss.

And then there’s the formidable Laura Linney as Wendy.  She doesn’t have much to do just yet, but you don’t bring in an actress of her skill to just be a cheating wife.  No, I suspect she’ll be doing more.

For now, though, we have four people, a family, all from the city, looking to turn a much more rural area into the newest front for a criminal enterprise.  That should be a bit of a challenge, shouldn’t it?

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