‘Ozark’: Did Fans Just Discover the Real Person Who Inspired Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde Character?

by Emily Morgan

The wildly popular Netflix series “Ozark” may have come to a bittersweet end, but fans are still theorizing about the Byrde family.

Throughout all four seasons of the riveting crime series, viewers often speculated about the tense situations in which Marty Byrde, played by Jason Bateman, involves himself and his family.

Marty, the father figure of the Byrde family, may come across as if he’s got his life under control, yet things are not as they seem. As you’ll recall, we first meet Marty in Season 1 when he works as a financial advisor in Chicago. We learn that he’s quietly been laundering money for the Navarro cartel. However, his cartel boss discovers that Marty’s partner is stealing money from the organization and demands Marty pay it back. The hiccup in the criminal business causes the family to move to the Ozarks in Missouri. Now, Marty must work to pay his friend’s debt back to the cartel.

Marty begins laundering money into various business enterprises as he works to pay back the stolen $8 million. From funneling money through a funeral home to a casino, Marty will stop at nothing to keep his family safe.

‘Ozark’ fans look into the real-life Marty Byrd

While this may be a fictional show, it hasn’t kept internet sleuths from researching whether or not an actual person inspired Marty’s character.

In a post to the r/Ozark subreddit, one user reveals that a criminal named Scott Tucker could be the real-life inspiration. “I couldn’t help but notice that Marty Byrde looks a bit like Tucker,” u/roberb7 wrote. “Not only that, his way of speaking is similar, and he comes across as a straightforward person when, in fact, he’s a slime.” So, who is Scott Tucker? 

Tucker was the criminal mastermind behind a billion-dollar loan scheme. He held multiple titles such as loan shark, racketeer, and race car driver who had a penchant for payday lending. After illegally raising interest rates for ten years, his luck ran out. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Like Marty, Tucker held a specific set of skills that made him successful in his criminal enterprise. As a result, some users believe Tucker may have been the source of inspiration for the character. However, it’s worth noting that the two committed very different crimes. 

When the show premiered back in 2017, it had been just one year after Tucker’s indictment. According to Redditor user u/eastcoastskier, there are no indications that “Ozark” was influenced by Tucker’s crimes.

The user claims that “Payday lending was completely different from what Marty did so there [aren’t] really similarities in that sense, I don’t know about their personalities.”