‘Ozark’: Laura Linney Reveals Whether Fans Should Root for Wendy Byrde or Not

by Thad Mitchell
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The never-ending thrill ride that is the hit Netflix series “Ozark” is back for the first half of the fourth season and it’s everything we hoped for.

“Ozark” tells the story of the Byrde family, a picture-perfect-looking unit bearing a very dark secret. The Byrdes live a double life. They own and operate a casino and a charitable foundation that assists in addiction recovery efforts. They also wash drug money for a dangerous criminal organization through an advanced money-laundering scheme. Marty Byrde, a super-intelligent financial advisor heads the family with his politically ambitious wife, Wendy, and two kids, Charlotte and Jonah, who are also in on the scheme. Each day is a fight to stay alive for the Byrde family as they are charged with cleaning millions of dollars. Failure to do so would result in certain death.

Actress Laura Linney is excellent as Wendy Byrde, making her one of the most complex characters on “Ozark.” In a recent interview with GQ, Linney discusses her character and how fans of the show should react to her.

“I don’t know if she’s the villain,” Linney says. “She certainly does not behave well (laughs.) It is not a character who you aspire to be, I hope. I don’t know if she’s the villain because she’s not trying to hurt her family. She’s trying to save her family. I think if she were actively, intentionally trying to derail her family then she would be a real villain. Normally, the villain is the person who goes after the protagonist, tries to thwart the protagonist. That’s not who she is. I don’t know quite what she is but she’s not that.”

Wendy does indeed put her family first but her thirst for political power comes in a very close second.

“Ozark” Star Talks About Her Character’s Complexity

Linney continues her description of Wendy’s motivations by pointing out there are numerous angles she must balance.

“But it is an interesting question because she’s not one thing,” she says. “When we first started doing Ozark, the thing I was most interested in examining was the whole issue of identity within a character, within a group of people, within a family, within a state—how people view themselves, what they present and what they are. How hard some people can work at not being who they really are, which is where I think you first meet Wendy Byrde. She’s worked really hard to be something different than what she came from, for the right reasons, and then when she’s sent back to the Ozarks, she’s put back in a situation that’s too familiar. And, slowly, she becomes more aligned with a lot of the values that she experienced growing up. Then with the threat of danger and survival being on the line and possibly some mental illness sprinkled in there, which we learn does run through her family, I think she’s very reactive.”

Outsider.com