‘Ozark’ Boss Speaks Out on Behind-Scenes ‘Debate’ About Ruth Langmore’s Season 4 Fate

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

“Ozark” showrunner Chris Mundy revealed that not all the writers wanted Ruth Langmore’s character arc to finish the way it did in Season 4 Part 2.

WARNING! Massive spoilers ahead for “Ozark” Season 4, Part 2 which dropped on Netflix on Friday, April 29.

Mundy sat down with TVLine earlier this week to discuss the death of Ruth Langmore, which shocked many “Ozark” fans. While it was realistic to have at least one main character not survive the season finale, people were devastated that it was Ruth and not one of the Byrdes (*cough* Wendy *cough*). Apparently, the writers of the show were sad to send Ruth off too.

“There was a debate,” Mundy told TVLine. “Half of the writers, or maybe a little under half, felt that there was something nice to knowing that Ruth would be out there in the world and doing well.”

Doing well in terms of making boatloads of money illegally. And maybe earning a spinoff show of her own. But that future wasn’t in the cards for Ruth Langmore, mainly because the “Ozark” showrunners knew someone needed to die. In their eyes, it wouldn’t feel honest or genuine “if everyone just gets off too easily.”

While that’s valid, the real question remains: Why Ruth and not Marty or Wendy Byrde? Apparently, they need to revel in their success a little longer.

“[The Byrdes] don’t get away clean karma-wise, but they do get away clean in terms of their lives and their success,” Mundy said of the series ending. “It started to feel like the writers were just imposing a happy ending on things because we’re kind of like surrogate parents of the characters. Are we telling a true story if something [tragic] doesn’t happen?”

He added, “We talked about it, we debated it and I knew what each person in the room thought. It was really hard and emotional trying to figure out what the right decision for the show was.”

Here’s How the Ozark Showrunners Decided on Ruth Langmore and Not the Byrdes

At the end of the day, “Ozark” showrunner Chris Mundy and his team chose Ruth Langmore because they wanted to send a message. That message reflects the reality we live in today, where people like the Byrdes get off scot-free despite all the horrors they’ve committed.

And as for Ruth, the fan favorite? Mundy admits that having her die indicates an “innate cynicism” in the show.

“Capitalism doesn’t work unless there is a winner and a loser,” Mundy explained. “And there’s a degree to which the Langmores are going to be the losers of that equation, while somebody else builds their fortune. The Byrdes came in and climbed their way up off the backs of people like the Langmore. And they’re representative of a lot of people. There’s something about it that’s cynical and there’s something about it that’s very, just, true. So we were trying to write into that truth.”

Despite the cynicism of Ruth Langmore’s fate, many “Ozark” fans have held out hope that she isn’t dead. Her death basically happened off-screen after all. But Mundy nipped that idea in the bud with just a few words.

“I’m sorry; she totally, absolutely is [dead].”