Jason Bateman as a money laundering anti-hero in a Breaking Bad meets Fargo slow-burn thriller shouldn’t have hit written all over it, but after one intense hour of Netflix’s Ozark, I was hooked!

The series sees Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth leave the comedy behind and go full on Walter White. His character, Marty Byrde and his family flee Chicago for Missouri’s titular Ozark Lakes after his business partner steals $8 million from the Mexican cartel they were cleaning money for.

Writer Bill Dubuque has taken the protagonist from his surprisingly good (and similarly themed) Ben Affleck vehicle, The Accountant and crossed it with Arrested Development’s long-running joke about money hidden in the walls of a building.

I honestly didn’t expect much from Bateman but he, his wife Laura Linney (Wendy Byrde) and Mexican drug lord Esai Morales (Del) reel you in like a hillbilly reels in a catfish. You may not like them much, but boy are they watchable! It’s worth noting that Jason Bateman also directed the pilot and serves as exec producer.

After setting up the Byrde’s humdrum existence, the story by Dubuque and Mark Williams (Casualty) takes some truly unexpected turns with one moment so shocking it will leave you with your hand over your mouth as you utter “Fuck me!” I did, anyway!

In addition to utilising an entirely new, unique part of America as a brilliant setting, Dubuque’s pilot episode teleplay, episode one Sugarword expertly sets up all the elements needed for a successful series:

  • Three dimensional, torn anti-hero husband and father juggling family loyalty with criminal activities
  • An indebted man needing to atone for his sins
  • Fish-out-of-water as Chicago accountant moves to unfamiliar territory of Missouri
  • Believable opponents; scary, unpredictable big bad and the FBI on Marty’s tail

Ozark Season 2 has been commissioned and is expected to land on Netflix in fall, 2018.

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