In the new Netflix crime drama Ozark, Jason Bateman is playing another family man. But Michael Bluth he is not. The Arrested Development star plays Marty Byrde, a financial planner who falls deeper into the world of money laundering and drug cartels than he ever intended. The 10-episode first season may surprise fans who know Bateman mostly from his comedic work, but will Ozark return for Season 2? As of now, Netflix has not renewed Ozark for a second season, but if audiences take to this serious series, it may have a future.
Since the show is just premiering, an announcement about either Season 2 or a cancellation may take awhile. However, as a dark drama, Ozark could have a long-term home on Netflix among series like The OA, Gypsy, Narcos, and, until recently, Bloodline. And Bateman is already a Netflix staple thanks to Arrested Development.
Bateman is branching out from his traditional comedic work with this role and hoping that audiences will enjoy watching his character's descent. In an interview with Deadline, Bateman expressed his desire to work with “everyman” characters who aspire to the American Dream, even if obtaining it is by unsavory means. And Ozark's anti-hero's actions can definitely be called "unsavory."
“What is he willing to do to provide for his family and does he have the smarts and backbone to follow through to with the questionable decisions he is making?" Bateman mused about Marty to the publication. He then added, “We live in this ‘every man for himself’ society and there’s always this carrot dangling in front of every citizen that tests how far we will reach to get something we want.”
Being the star, the executive producer, and the director of several episodes, Bateman told Entertainment Weekly that he planned to explore Marty's journey through his questionable ethics. His character may have similarities to Walter White, but Bateman clarified to EW, “We were very, very conscious not to do the beautiful work that Breaking Bad did.”
Despite comments like those, the Breaking Bad comparisons continue to stack up. "Imagine a parallel-world Breaking Bad," reads a Radio Times piece, "where Walter’s family know what he’s up to." Meanwhile, Inverse described the show as a "Missouri" version for fans "pining for Breaking Bad." Perhaps Ozark will successfully fill the void left by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. It could bode well for its chances of a second season on Netflix.
While Season 2 isn't definite for Ozark just yet, audiences can get a taste of how far he's willing to go in its first 10 hours. Perhaps Ozark can finally answer the age-old question: what's the American Dream really worth?