The Netflix original show Ozark stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde—a financial planner turned money launderer for a Mexican drug cartel—whose family's lives are on the line if he can't work off a debt incurred by his less-than-scrupulous business partner. In the second season, released August 31, the focus is on state and local politics as Marty finds he needs permission from one corrupt powerbroker after another before he can open a steamboat casino, his creative solution to finally getting his bosses off his back.
Because Missouri has laws capping the number of gambling institutions, a full-on campaign to raise the limit is necessary, as is buy-in from members of the gaming commission; backroom dealing, to include negotiations with mobsters from Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit, ensues.
A drug lord's financial henchman may not be the most sympathetic protagonist, but it's striking how the onerous barriers to commerce he has to clamber over—and the black markets they inevitably foster—result in massive amounts of needless death and destruction.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Ozark".