Ozark Season 4. Photo: Youtube
Ozark Season 4. Photo: Youtube

Ozark fans may be disappointed that the upcoming fourth season will be the hit crime show’s last – but they will be happy to hear the series will “pull all the stops with the finale.”

The cast hinted at the finale about the expanded 14-episode final season, promising experimental storytelling that plays with the surviving characters – and also adds a few new ones…

There’s also fresh hope that we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out the Byrde family’s fate, with series star Jason Bateman also telling that the long-awaited final instalment of the hit crime show will likely hit our screens a little bit sooner now the vaccine rollout is underway.

Which is good news for Ozark fans who have now been waiting a year for the show’s return, who can also look forward to an Oscar-nominee joining the season four cast.

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.”

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 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.

However, at a roundtable discussing the season three finale in February 2021, Bateman hinted that production could be sped up thanks to the vaccine rollout.

Ozark season 4 cast

Photo: theplaylist
Photo: theplaylist

The cast of Ozark is led by Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a former financial advisor turned money launderer, and Wendy Byrde, a former political PR manager turned realty stager and lobbyist.

Also returning for season 4 are Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore, a member of a local crime family.

They will be be joined by:

  • Sofia Hublitz as Charlotte Byrde, Marty and Wendy's daughter
  • Skylar Gaertner as Jonah Byrde, Marty and Wendy's son
  • Felix Solis as Omar Navarro, head of a Mexican drug cartel
  • Lisa Emery as Darlene Snell, a member of a local crime family
  • Charlie Tahan as Wyatt Langmore, Ruth's cousin
  • Jessica Frances Dukes as FBI Special Agent Maya Miller
  • John Bedford Lloyd as Frank Cosgrove, head of the Kansas City mafia
  • Joseph Sikora as Frank Cosgrove Jr, a mafia member
  • Robert Treveiler as John Nix, a local sheriff
  • Kevin L Johnson as Sam Dermody, a real estate agent
  • McKinley Belcher III as FBI Agent Trevor Evans

Cast members who will not be returning, because their characters died in season 3, include: Janet McTeer as cartel attorney Helen Pierce; Tom Pelphrey as Wendy's brother Ben; and Marylouise Burke as therapist Sue Shelby.

Some new faces will grace Ozark season 4. Bruce Davison is joining the cast as retired Illinois Senator Randall Schafer. More new cast members include: Alfonso Herrera as Javi, a member of the Navarro cartel; Bruno Bichir as Navarro's priest; Adam Rothenberg as private investigator Mel Sattem; CC Castillo as Sheriff Leigh Guerrero; and Katrina Lenk as Clare Shaw, the CEO of a biopharmaceutical firm.

Ozark season 4 plot

Ozark season 4 will pick up right where the third installment left off, moments after Marty and Wendy witnessed Helen Pierce get shot and killed at the hands of Navarro.

During a Deadline panel, Bateman said, "The next season, the first episode, is Laura [Linney] and I looking in the mirror just after that moment, cleaning Janet [McTeer] out of our hair. It's a nice 10 minutes later pick-up from it."

The Byrdes were already in deep with the cartel, but now they're truly bound to Navarro. As he told them, "Today is a beginning" — the question is, can they survive the ending?

Marty and Wendy have other problems besides Navarro, now that Ruth has turned against them and is now working for Darlene Snell's heroin operation.

Showrunner Chris Mundy told EW, "I think [season 4] will be about whether or not Ruth really can create something of her own that she wants and is sustainable, or if she wants something else. And 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?" Tomsguide reported.

Ozark season 4 showrunner and directors

Chris Mundy returns as showrunner for Ozark season 4, and while star Jason Bateman has previously directed the first two episodes of every season, for Ozark's swan song, this unfortunately won't be possible.

Bateman stepped away from the director's chair due to the pandemic. He explained to IndieWire: "As normal, I was going to do the first two episodes, but as we were looking through the protocols, the guidelines, all the complications with COVID, [and] the producer side of me made me think 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… Because if one of the actors gets sick, we all have to go home for weeks. If one of the crew members gets sick – while I'm making sure their salary is protected while they're in quarantine – we can hire a replacement. So it just didn't seem smart for me to [direct] the first two [episodes]." Gamesradar cited.

When will production start on season 4?

Photo: panasonic
Photo: panasonic

Bateman 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 9,” he said. “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.”

In April 2020, 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.” NME wrote.

How many episodes will there be in season 4?

Batman has also revealed that Ozark season 4 will be split into two parts. While the entire season will contain 14 episodes, it will be delivered in two seven episode segments. With that in mind, considering the difficulties the pandemic has introduced, we can't be sure that season 4 production will stick to the same timeline as previous seasons, but – if all goes well – we could seeing the first half of season 4 sometime in late 2021. Judging by other Netflix shows that have had their final seasons split into two, we can expect the second set of episodes a few months later, likely March or April 2022. Again, that's if everything goes to plan.

Ozark season 4 trailer

There's no trailer for Ozark season 4 yet, and considering we don't even have a release date, we might have a while longer to wait. For Ozark season 3, we got our first trailer on March 5, 2020, and the series was released later that month. The streamer doesn’t like to get everyone excited too early… So it could be a while yet until an Ozark season 4 trailer.

Ozark season 3 recap: where did it begin and end?

Ozark season 3 literally started with a bang as we got our first glimpse of the deadly cartel war. As the riverboat casino was circled by the FBI, and the future of the Navarro cartel seemed uncertain, the Byrde family’s commitment was being tested at every turn throughout season 3. Yet it wasn’t just their commitment to the cartel being tested, as the loveless couple endured a season-long power dynamic, which saw Wendy take the reins after going all-in during the previous season.

Ozark season 3 saw the introduction of Wendy’s brother Ben, who threw many spanners into the works. Ben added fuel to the fire of Marty and Wendy’s conflict, romanced Ruth, and climatically outed Helen as a cartel lawyer in front of her oblivious daughter. This final act secured his grim fate: Wendy shockingly proved her loyalty by handing her brother over to the cartel, which likely saved her family, but resulted in the previously loyal Ruth cutting her ties with the Byrdes.

With family business impacting the cartel, Marty and Wendy finally realized they had to work together, as Helen turned her sights on the couple. Yet as they jetted off to Mexico at the invitation of Navarro, it all seemed too late – that is, until Helen was shot upon their arrival. With Helen’s blood splattered across their faces, Navarro offered a disturbing hug and ominously stated “this is just the beginning”, concluding season 3 with the Byrdes well and truly in too deep, Techradar noted.

What can we expect from the fourth season of Ozark?

Langmore/ Snell/ KC Alliance

The death of Ben became the straw that broke the camel’s back for Ruth and her loyalty to the Byrdes. Choosing to quit and distance herself from the family, Ruth, like her cousin Wyatt, has instead joined Darlene at the Snell poppy farm. Darlene has offered Ruth a position, running the day-to-day production, ensuring the heroin, manufactured on-site, gets to the Kansas City mob for distribution.

Switching loyalties proved to be an easy decision for Ruth in the end, as Darlene had shown more loyalty and love to Ruth’s family in months, than what the Byrdes did in years.

Ruth has a lot to prove, mainly to herself, but also to the Byrdes that she is not a person to be trifled with. The Langmore matriarch is intelligent and ruthless, all of which Darlene greatly admires

The Impact of Ben’s Death

Ben was the wildcard foreshadowed by Agent Evans at the start of the third season, and his presence was felt throughout from start to finish, and will arguably be felt long into the fourth season despite being dead.

Despite the fact that Ben suffered from mental illness, he arguably had the most human reaction to his family’s ongoing business with the Navarro Cartel. His confusion, disgust, but ultimately his naivety of his family’s situation resulted in his own sister, Wendy, giving up his whereabouts so that Helen’s hitman could dispose of him.

Wendy has become a cold, calculated and hardened woman, but her decision to let Ben die may be the one to break her. Her will to survive is incredibly strong, but with time to reflect on her actions Wendy may find herself down a dark rabbit hole that there may not be any chance of coming back from.

For his age, Jonah has already experienced more trauma than most adults. His exposure to the family business had left Jonah desensitized to murder, but the death of his uncle has pushed him to the edge. Jonah almost murdered Helen in an act of revenge but learned from her that his mother, Wendy, gave Ben up, leading to his death. In a fit of rage, Jonah blew a hole in the living room window with a shotgun, but next season his actions could be far heavier.

Charlotte, who wasn’t seen to be particularly close with her uncle, will still be reeling from his death. She is close to her brother, but depending on his actions she may need to decide between siding with him, or siding with her parents. Charlotte had previously wanted to emancipate, but ultimately decided to stay with the family, now could be the perfect time to leave.

Marty will have to contend with his family in the wake of Ben’s death. Not to mention Marty no longer has Ruth working for him, which means he’ll be under more pressure running the day-to-day business of the casino.

The Byrdes become Navarro’s right-hand couple

By using the footage of the Lagunas cartel attack, Marty and Wendy were able to stop the war between the Navarro and Lagunas cartel. By stopping the war, and securing the safety of Navarro’s family and assets, Marty and Wendy have proven their value to the drug lord.

The Byrdes ultimately proved they were far more valuable than Helen, who was murdered right before the eyes of Wendy and Marty. Helen had lots of power and influence within the Navarro Cartel, and with her, out of the picture, it can be assumed that the Byrdes, most likely Wendy, will be given the same power as what Helen held.

The implications of this are huge, as it will now be expected of Wendy to make some extremely tough decisions. For the sake of the cartel, and making money, Helen had no problem with making decisions that lead to the death of innocent people. Previously, Wendy has shown the same ruthlessness, but the death of Ben may weigh heavily on her, impacting her ability to carry out tasks like Helen.

Marty’s role is likely to continue on as normal, laundering money for the cartel and trying to get Agent Miller on side.

Will the Byrdes attempt an escape?

Each passing season the Byrdes have sunk deeper and deeper into the clutches of the Navarro cartel. By this point, to escape with their lives and freedom, Marty would have to take the deal with the FBI.

If they even dared to try and run away they would be relentlessly hunted by both the Navarro cartel and the FBI, according to Whats-on-netflix.

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.”

At a SAG Awards panel, however, the cast said it makes sense for the series to end with its fourth season before it is drawn out longer than necessary.

Omar Navarro actor Felix Solis told Deadline: “All good things must come to an end. This was a good job that must come to an end. We don’t want to wait until it’s not good for it end.”

It looks hopeful that the crime show will stick the landing too – with Skylar Gaertner, who plays Jonah Byrde, also telling Deadline that the production team “pull all the stops with the finale”.

“We have so much confidence that everyone’s going to pull it off perfectly,” Gaertner said, adding that this season’s experimental storytelling will play with the surviving characters. Radiotimes reported.

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