HomeEntertainment‘Ozark’: Was the Show Inspired by Real Life?

‘Ozark’: Was the Show Inspired by Real Life?

by Maria Hartfield

Netflix hit series, Ozark is back for its fourth and final season. The thriller centers around Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), patriarch of the Byrde family. Marty moves his family from Chicago to Missouri as he navigates the conflicts that go along with his job of being a money-launder for a Mexican drug cartel. While the plot may seem uncanny to some, is it possible the show pulls some of its inspiration from real events?

The official synopsis reads: “A financial adviser drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug boss.”

Ozark‘s final season will feature two parts, each containing 7-episodes. The release date for part two of the crime thriller is still a mystery, but some speculate it will premiere sometime in the spring.  Fans of the series hope to receive some closure as to what’s in store for the Byrde family including Marty, his wife Wendy (Laura Linney), and their children Charlotte (Sofia Hubiltz) and Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner). While the Byrde’s fate is in jeopardy, will the current dire circumstances force their broken family to reconnect?

So, is it possible this over-the-top crime drama could be based on real events? Not likely. It’s not like there are many families running from the FBI due to their under-the-table money laundering skills. However, real-life money laundering operations aren’t completely unheard of.

Ozark isn’t a true story, but money laundering is a true crime

In truth, Ozark isn’t actually based on a true story. However, the premise of cartels using legitimate businesses to launder money is very real.

Sam Quinones, an LA Times reporter, brings a wealth of knowledge to the subject after spending years investigating drug trafficking. In talking with Netflix, Quinones admits to having met folks similar to the character of Marty Byrde. In fact, Quinones says the reason trafficking drugs works is due to having “people on the lower level” who take on the tasks of money laundering typically in cash-only businesses.

Obviously, the Ozark narrative takes the idea of money laundering through cash businesses to a different level. After all, at the beginning of the series, Marty takes on the task of laundering an astounding $500 million.

“I would say, though, if you’re asking someone to launder $500 million, it would be difficult to do that in any kind of rapid way without a bank,” Quinones notes. 

In conclusion, the Byrde’s unique story is their own and is not based on a real family. However, many of the conflicts they face throughout the series run parallel to actual money laundering issues.

Watch the first seven episodes of Ozark‘s final season now on Netflix.