‘Ozark’ Actress Laura Linney Reveals She Didn’t Originally Like Her Character

by Emily Morgan

Actress Laura Linney and her “Ozark” costars may have received all the praise for their performance on the hit Netflix show, but Linney initially didn’t like her character. 

Linney starred in the hit series as Wendy Byrde, the cunning wife of money launderer Marty Byrde. The second half of the final season of the Emmy-winning show wrapped up recently. It originally debuted on the streaming platform in 2017. 

Viewers watched a family crumble as Wendy, who appeared to be an ordinary mother and wife, helped her husband in his criminal enterprise. Her life gets turned upside down when her husband, Marty Byrde, played by Jason Bateman, uprooted his family to the Missouri Ozarks to launder millions of dollars for the Navarro cartel. 

During the fourth and final season, the show grew tenser. Fans watched the show unravel as a private investigator Mel Sattem, played by Adam Rothenberg, and Navarro Cartel leader Omar Navarro, played by Felix Soli, put the pressure on the Byrde family and their illegal family business.

While the show is mainly from the point of view of Marty, Laura Linney’s character, Wendy, also gets some screen time. Fans watched as she underwent an extreme transformation that saw her go from being a simple housewife to a significant player in helping her husband’s illegal business. 

Since the other potion is death, Wendy consciously decides to go to the dark side. By the end of the third season, it’s not the cartel who are the villains, but Wendy herself. Fans officially identify her as the show’s antagonist after she gave up her brother Ben to the cartel.

The love-hate relationship Laura Linney had with her character

Although fans labeled herself as the show’s anti-hero, some still found themselves rooting for her

During an interview with Vulture, the 58-year-old admitted that she initially did not like the character. Laura Linney opened up about her thought process behind her initial prejudice toward the character.

“The character in the pilot was very different,” she began. “I just remember she was snoring in the bed a lot. There was a lot of: Wendy snores. I just didn’t know where it was going to go. I don’t know why I trusted Jason Bateman and Chris Mundy as much as I did, but I remember saying to them, ‘I hope that if I sign onto this, you’ll use me. Otherwise, don’t cast me. Take someone else.’ There’s nothing worse than people not wanting what you have to offer. When people don’t want what you have to offer, it’s just womp-womp-womp.”

Thankfully, Linney’s negative feelings towards her character ultimately changed directions after she came to understand her.

For Linney’s performance, she was nominated for two Emmys, proving that she made the right decision in trusting Bateman and Murphy. It’s a good thing Linney played the role of Wendy, as she became one of the show’s most complex characters. In addition, she might make an “Ozark” return one day if we’re lucky.