‘Ozark’: Here’s ‘Who’ Wendy Byrde Is, According to Laura Linney

by Leanne Stahulak

After working on “Ozark” for five years and four seasons, star Laura Linney has a pretty good idea of what her character, Wendy Byrde, is all about.

Linney sat down with Vulture earlier this thing to talk all things “Ozark,” as well as highlights of Linney’s acting career. To this day, “Ozark” is the longest project she’s ever worked on with 44 episodes. And when asked what she thinks the show is ultimately about, Linney had a clear-cut answer.

“Identity,” Linney said. She then added several key questions, “Who are we? Who are you? Who am I? What do we want? Who are we as individuals? Who are we as families? Who are we as communities? Who are we as a country? Identity.”

If “Ozark” is all about identity, though, then Marty and Wendy Byrde are right at the center of that struggle. In Season 1, we meet a regular family from Chicago, a financial advisor and his wife. But by Season 4, the Byrdes have positioned themselves into ultimate positions of power, second only to a few key players.

So, What Is Wendy Byrde’s Identity in ‘Ozark?’

For “Ozark” star Laura Linney, breaking down who Wendy Byrde is as a person centers on the fact that she had no idea her husband was laundering money at the beginning of the show. She didn’t know who Marty was, just like Marty didn’t know who Wendy was as she cheated on him.

“Who is she? It’s not like who she is. It’s looking at the journey,” Linney explained. “When you’re telling a story, people get confused when they start asking questions. They infuse it with a little more meaning than it’s worth.”

She continued, “From the beginning, it’s a group of people who don’t know themselves and don’t know each other at all. They really don’t. They function well, they’re a family. And then through the course of those four seasons, they learn an enormous amount about themselves, an enormous amount about each other.”

Just look at who Wendy and Marty become by the end of the series. Not to mention their children, who were spoiled, privileged kids at the beginning of the show. By the end of it, the kids become fully involved in their parents’ shady business. Jonah even kills a man for them at the end of the series finale, just to keep their secrets.

When the Vulture interviewer asked Linney if she thinks the Byrdes know each other better by the end of it, she said yes.

“They know each other more than they did before,” Linney revealed. “Do they go on and learn even more? Probably.”