The most bingable new show on Netflix right now is without a doubt Netflix's Ozark. Featuring Jason Bateman in a serious role (and as the occasional director), it’s unbelievable how entertaining a show about a financial planner can actually be.
Forbes sets up the characters as “Jason Bateman as a thoughtful financial advisor named Marty Byrde, Laura Linney as his smarter-than-you-think wife Wendy, and Esai Morales as a drug kingpin and shrewd businessman you don't want to mess with…”
Labels aside, the story really begins when Marty is put between a rock and a hard place, which means choosing between doubling down on laundering for the cartel or swallowing a bullet. Specifically, he’s got to move to a new town and then figure out how to launder around 8 million dollars for the cartel.
Aside from the action in this crime-drama-thriller, the most interesting aspect by far comes from Marty. If he compares to any other character, he feels like a mixture between a young Gus Fring and Tom Reagan from the Coen’s Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing.
Both Fring and Reagan live life as a chess game. Fring nearly kills himself in order to take down the enemy on Breaking Bad and Reagan will take a right hook to the face in order to prove a point or gain leverage in the long run.
Without giving too much away, it’s clear that Marty is also this kind of player. There’s even a scene when Marty walks into the enemy’s lair unarmed and simply outwits his opponent despite their many guns.
“Say you come across a suitcase with five million bucks in it,” begins Marty, in a voice over Money Laundering 101 lesson. “You gotta age it up. Crumple it. Drag it through the dirt. You mix the five million with a cash business and voila, the money’s clean.”
We’ve seen this before in both The Town and Hell or High Water, when the protagonists take stolen money to a casino and then exchange it for clean money by trading out chips. When it comes to millions of dollars, however, only Marty can clean such a hefty amount and live to tell about it.