A show about an American heartland scourged by black-market drugs, vice, politics, and bureaucratic power


In Netflix's Ozark, no one is ever too far from government power. The show tells the story of the Byrdes, an ordinary Chicago family that ends up laundering money for a drug cartel. It bears all the hallmarks of post-Sopranos prestige TV, refracting the pedestrian concerns of America's semi-privileged upper-middle class through the lens of violent genre television. The result is a kaleidoscopic look at the breakdown of American institutions.

It's not just that the Byrde family works for a drug lord. They also work for and against the FBI, and are embroiled in local politics via dealings with an eccentric political kingmaker and in national politics via their Chicago connections to the Obama campaign. They scheme to overcome regulatory burdens and corruption to open a riverboat casino—the better to launder drug money.

In the fourth and final season, the family sets up a political foundation using money from a struggling drugmaker guilted into backing them out of concern for the opioid crisis. This same drugmaker is also reliant on drug-cartel poppy.

It's a show, in other words, about an American heartland scourged by black-market drugs, vice, politics, and bureaucratic power, in which the family is the only institution with any chance of holding together.

NEXT: Brickbat: Putting It All Out in the Open

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  1. Great show.

  2. Odd review. Zero reasons why it is interesting or boring, why anyone would want to watch it. The closest hint is that this is its fifth season, so it must have been reasonably popular; on the other hand, if it isn't worth reviewing until the fifth season is almost over, how interesting could it have been before?

  3. Is this the entire article? Reads like a headnote.

    Quoting Colonel Jessup, is this really the article I was called here to read? I hope you have something more.

  4. It's another crime show where the protagonist is a little too smart, the really bad guys are a little too omniscient, and the escapes from the consequences of mistakes are a little too convenient.

    But it has great acting and it's cool to see how well Marty's wife and son take to their new life of crime.

  5. We love this show. Terrific cast, great acting, great writing, drama. Definitely worth watching.

    To answer a commenter, one would not want to let slip any spoilers for the many gratifying plot twists. Also, the final season part 2 is about to be released at the end of April. This gives newbies time to binge-watch it up to the new season!

  6. Wendy Byrde is one of the most hate-able characters on TV in years (if you don’t count real world politicos).

  7. And it's filmed in Georgia, not MIssouri (where the lake actually is) because of tax breaks

    1. The fat, black lady who thinks she is governor is gonna fix that tax problem.

  8. Where is the rest of the article?

  9. >opioid crisis

    Strange. Despite what appears to be megatons of OxyContin parachuted into flyover country by some kind of evil Berlin airlift, I didn't become addicted at all, or feel any urge to play Baby Blue.

    1. What does that mean? I am glad you are not a drug addict. I am not one either.

      I’m looking to retire, and everywhere I look in rural Georgia, North and South Carolina, there is a huge problem with property crime due to meth and pill addicts.
      It is a huge problem and the Biden administration is ignoring it.

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