*Warning: spoilers ahead for Ozark season three*
Netflix’s Ozark will go out “with a bang” in its expanded 14-episode fourth (and final) season – and that includes adding an Oscar-nominee to its cast.
Bruce Davison (X-Men) will play the recurring role of Randall Schafer, who Deadline describes as “a powerful retired Illinois U.S. Senator who is accustomed to doing things his way,” but who can be bought for the right price…
The introduction of the character suggests that the Byrde family have set their aspirations high this season – but with every high comes a low, as we’ve learnt from previous seasons.
Season three ended with a violent and shocking finale – and Ozark season four will deal with the fall-out, picking up with the story just 10 minutes after the previous season’s final, bloody moments.
Series star Jason Bateman recently revealed that season four would begin with Marty Byrde and his wife Wendy “looking in the mirror” and apparently covered in blood and gore following the shooting of Helen Pierce, the cartel’s lawyer.
“We actually start the next season, the first episode is Laura [Linney] and I looking in the mirror just after that moment, cleaning Janet [McTeer, who played Helen] out of our hair. It’s a nice kind of 10-minutes-later pick up. A nice transition,” he told Deadline.
Although showrunner Chris Mundy previously told The Hollywood Reporter that he had “always talked about it as as five seasons”, he’s since expressed his excitement at ending – and doing justice to – the Byrde family saga in the extended fourth season.
The acclaimed crime drama stars Jason Bateman as Marty, and promises to bring the Byrde’s family criminal relationship with the Navarro drug cartel to a dramatic and “great” conclusion.
This last instalment has a lot to live up to, and if the recent string of Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards nods are anything to go by, the show is set to become one of the most successful crime dramas in recent years.
If you recently started binge-watching the series, you’re not the only one – Mundy told Deadline that the show benefited from “a little virus aid”, with season three coming out “when everyone had nothing to look at except their walls and television” during the pandemic.
The latest season featured a brutal in-family murder, when Wendy Byrde (played by Laura Linney) ordered a hit on her brother Ben in order to secure the safety of her family and business, luring him to a diner where Nelson (Nelson Bonilla) murdered him.
But despite the show’s frequent comparisons to the equally bloody Breaking Bad, it doesn’t sound like Marty Byrde (played by Arrested Development star Bateman) will follow in Walter White’s doomed footsteps – and will instead survive the final season.
In a recent interview, showrunner Mundy contradicted a review that predicted a Breaking Bad-style ending for Ozark. “I know their idea was a very Breaking Bad ending. And that’s not been the intention from the beginning,” he told Netflix.
The extended season, which will consist of 14 episodes, will see Marty Byrde and his wife Wendy continue their dodgy dealings in the mountainous Ozarks after their original money laundering scheme in Chicago went awry.
Speaking about the final, extended season, Mundy also told Gold Derby: “Knowing it’s the end and to write to an end is really helpful. But getting a little more time to tell it is great honestly.”
Looking at the rest of the show’s cast, Mundy has also confirmed (via the virtual PaleyFest 2020) that popular season three newcomer Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey) won’t be returning for the fourth season – but otherwise we can expect Marty, Wendy, and their family to return for this last outing.
Julia Garner, who plays a member of a local crime family, Ruth Langmore, beat out the likes of Meryl Streep and Thandie Newton at the Emmys 2020 ceremony, winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the virtual ceremony in September – meaning that with a new season in the works, we might expect the foul-mouthed criminal to steal even more scenes in the show’s final instalment.
After filming delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was revealed by Ozark series star, producer, and director, Jason Bateman, that production on season four would commence in November (via IndieWire). That means that the series will theoretically air in the latter half of 2021, given that past seasons have taken five to six months to film.
However, Sofia Hubitz (who plays Charlotte Byrde) has since posted an Ozark titles still on Instagram in August 2020, captioned, “Coming soon…”. Perhaps fans won’t have to wait too long for filming to start.
Over the past three seasons, we’ve seen the couple take on risky clients whilst roping various relatives into their criminal activities, which as a result, led to a few shock deaths during the last run of episodes.
With the Byrdes having finally won over cartel leader Omar Navarro, will the couple be facing fewer enemies whilst pursuing their illicit business in season four? Or will they take a deal with the FBI before their luck finally runs out?
Season four has a lot of questions to answer before Ozark ends for good, so with that in mind, here’s everything we know about the upcoming season, when it will arrive on Netflix and theories regarding the Byrde family’s fate.
When is Ozark season 4 released on Netflix?
The new season will be split into two parts, with a total of 14 episodes and the latter half potentially airing into 2022.
Jason Bateman, the show’s star and Emmy-winning director, revealed in an August interview with IndieWire that production started in November 2020, with safety measures in place against the virus.
“We’re going to start November 9th. Everything is moving well toward that, and we’re very confident in the guidelines and protocols we’re going to be following. We’ve got tons of consultants, [and] we’re learning a lot from other productions.”
However, Bateman added that he probably won’t direct the first two episodes as originally planned.
“It’s just not responsible to have one of the actors direct the first two, given that we’re still going to be getting our perimeter safe [from COVID-19 infection],” he said. “Because if one of the actors gets sick, we all have to go home for weeks.”
And it sounds like the production has been strictly adhering to COVID safety guidelines.
“The health and safety of our Ozark family is our first priority,” a spokesperson for the MRC production company said. “Our team has approached return to production with a mandate of exceeding guidelines outlined by the CDC, government officials and others; and we expect our protocols to evolve as we learn from the industry and our own productions.
“As we aim toward a return, we are working with the unions, health officials, our consultants, and Netflix on our COVID safety guidelines and protocols. Upon approvals from our partners and the implementation of safety required in this new environment, we are targeting a November start date.”
However, we may still have quite some time to wait before its available to stream on Netflix.
Season one came out in July 2017, followed by season two in August 2018. Season three took a little longer to make, probably down to Bateman appearing in (and directing two episodes of) HBO’s The Outsider in between. Ozark was released on 27th March 2020; by that measure, in normal times, RadioTimes.com predicts we could be looking at a fourth season in mid to late 2021.
In April, Jason Bateman told Collider that each season requires four months of writing and six months of production, adding: “I think the fastest we can turn around a full season, from starting the writes room to having Netflix push it out, is basically 12 months. There’s just no way to do it any quicker.”
But of course, these are far from normal times and the television industry has been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has stalled production on virtually every major drama series that had been due to film.
UK broadcasters have recently drawn up guidelines for filming during the COVID-19 crisis and it’s safe to assume the US will implement its own measures soon enough, given the sheer amount of television produced in the country.
Is Ozark season 4 the final season?
Yes indeed. Netflix has confirmed that season four is the end of the line for Ozark, but they seem content on making the finale a genuine television event.
Not only will the season have an expanded 14-episode run, but it will also be released in two separate batches of seven, spreading out the suspense even further.
Ending on season four appears to be a slight variation from the original plan hinted at by showrunner Chris Mundy, who previously suggested that the show could go on for longer.
“We’ve always talked about it as five seasons,” he said during a panel discussion with The Hollywood Reporter. “It could be four, it could be seven… but that always seemed like a good number to us.”
Ozark season 4 cast
It seems the core Ozark cast members will return – based mainly on who’s still alive.
Jason Bateman leads the cast of Ozark as Marty Byrde, with Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde. We can also expect to see more of their daughter Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and son Jonah (Skylar Gaertner).
Other key cast members include Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore, Charlie Tahan as Wyatt Langmore, Lisa Emery as Darlene Snell, and Felix Solis as cartel boss Omar Navarro.
Bruce Davison (X-Men) will join the cast, playing the recurring role of Senator Randall Schafer.
It remains to be seen whether some of the supporting characters will still be part of the story, including FBI Special Agent Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes), Frank Cosgrove Sr (John Bedford Lloyd) or Sam Dermody (Kevin L Johnson).
We won’t, of course, be seeing any more of Helen Piece (Janet McTeer) after Omar had her killed; nor will we see more of Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey) after his untimely death or Marty and Wendy’s therapist Sue (Marylouise Burke) who met a similar grisly fate.
Ozark season 4 theories
The end of season three saw Marty and Wendy Byrde working more closely with the Navarro cartel than ever, after crime boss Omar Navarro announced that this was the beginning of increased cooperation between the three of them. The Byrdes had won Navarro over by working (briefly) with the FBI to end the gang war by bringing down the rival Lagunas cartel.
We also expect to see more on Ruth and her decision to cut ties with the Byrdes – how will things work out for her, Darlene and the KC Mob?
Season four may also look at Wendy’s decision to let her brother Ben die and what affect this might have on her and the rest of her family – particularly Jonah Byrde, who took his uncle’s death badly.
It remains to be seen exactly what would happen in season four, but there are plenty of unfinished storylines to pick back up! The show’s lead writer Craig Mundy said: “I think it will be about if the Byrdes can they turn the biggest mistake of their lives into this huge advantage, and how much will karma catch up with them if they do?”
And with the fourth season now confirmed to be the final run, fans will be hopeful that as many loose ends as possible can be wrapped up – and have themselves been putting forward theories as to what might happen.
Many viewers have guessed that Marty and Wendy. could both end up dead, while others have suggested that some of the supporting cast’s days could also be numbered – including Sam Dermody (Kevin L. Johnson) with one Reddit user claiming that the character is most likely to fold under pressure and become an FBI format, indicating that he could very well be killed.
Some other fans reckon Sam will get off rather more lightly, but until season four comes we won’t know anything for sure – and there are bound to be all sorts of interesting theories out forward until then!
Showrunner Chris Mundy has also opened up about the challenges of working not only on an extended deadline, but navigating the writers’ room via video call (via Gold Derby): “It’s hard enough to do an extra four when we’re all together, it’s even trickier to hold all that info in your heard for 14 but we’re managing.”
Ozark recap: What happened in season 3?
As we’ve come to expect from the drama, season three managed to pack an awful lot of action into its 10-episode run.
Marty was taken captive by crime boss Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), while things weren’t any more rosy for Wendy who was forced to put a hit out on her own brother in a bid to save the rest of her family from the wrath of the cartel.
Meanwhile the season also saw Ruth grow increasingly unhappy with her connection to the Byrdes – eventually joining with Darlene and agreeing a deal with the KC Mob.
Did Helen die in Ozark?
That’s right, Ben wasn’t the only character to meet an untimely end in season three, as Helen Pierce was murdered by Navarro right in front of the Byrdes.
The cartel lawyer had wanted Marty and Wendy dead so that she could take over their business, making her one of Ozark’s most threatening antagonists – that is, until she was unexpectedly shot in the head in Mexico.
Hiro Koda, the stunt coordinator who orchestrated the brutal scene, told Express.co.uk: “When Helen was killed at the end, that was a very challenging sequence to do. It turned out perfectly and looked amazing but we had to work out her placement.
“We had to work out how much debris and blood would come out on top of Wendy and Marty, and seeing her fall – there were no stunt doubles. It’s about precise timings.”
Helen had been played by English actress Janet McTeer, whose past credits include Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix and Glenn Close drama Albert Nobbs, for which she was Oscar nominated.
Speaking to Deadline, McTeer revealed that she knew in advance that Helen would be killed off, before describing her reaction to the death scene: “When I read it [in the script] I laughed out loud. It’s always good fun when you get a really good death.”
Is Ben Davis definitely dead?
Wendy’s bipolar brother Ben features heavily in the third season of Ozark and is pivotal to the fast-moving final few episodes. And although clearly the plot leads us to believe that Ben is killed, some fans remain convinced that there’s a further twist to come in that plot. We don’t actually see the body, and there is speculation among fan communities online that perhaps there’s more to the death than we are led to believe – and perhaps we will be seeing more from Ben in a season four?
Ozark season 4 trailer
The trailer for Ozark season four has yet to be released, but we’ll keep update this page when it drops.
Where is Ozark filmed?
The drama is set around Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri – but not much of it is actually filmed there. Much of the filming takes place around Atlanta, Georgia, where the production team makes use of Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier.