TV critics expecting to get even more intel on Netflix’s Ozark Season 2 or, 3 may have come away from the hot series TCA Q&A disappointed, with Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner all deferring to writer/producers who were not on stage. Bateman did, however, promise the writers “understand the audience deserves an escalation if you do more episodes” because viewers “don’t want redundancies.”
“There is so much good television now the demand is high to keep bringing it,” Bateman said, suggesting “plot escalation” and “emotional complexity, adding characters” and killing off others. It’s a fun process and Ozark writers “manage it really well,” he added, tantalizingly.
The money laundering aspect of the show, and the law and order of the Missouri Ozarks is hopefully “tamped down and does not bore you with the weeds and mechanics of that stuff,” Bateman forecast.
“We’re not trying to make an accurate documentary about what the crime rate is there,” he added.
“It just happens to be the place where Bill Dubuque wanted to have this set; he went there a lot as a kid and knew it had a colorful history and lent itself to the kind of characters he would want to write about.”
What there will be more of “the interactions with big city folks wrongfully assuming they could dominate them and had them all figured out,” he teased.
“How does that all roll out is more of what the show is all about, I hope,” Bateman enthused.
Netflix has promised that, in Season 2, Bateman’s Marty Byrde and family continue to navigate the troubled money-laundering and drug cartel waters of the summer resort where they’ve nested in the Missouri Ozarks. With drug lord Del (Esai Morales) out, the crime syndicate sends its ruthless attorney Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) after them. Marty and wife Wendy (Laura Linney) struggle to balance their family interests amid the escalating dangers presented by their partnerships with the power-hungry Snells, the cartel, and their new deputy, Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), whose father Cade (Trevor Long) has been released from prison.
Addressing comparisons to Breaking Bad, Bateman declared AMC’s long-running Vince Gilligan drama is a show that “can never be touched” and that they’d be happy to “get halfway there.”
“We are not trying to replicate,” he said, but understood the tendency to compare his Ozarks family to the other, having made a set of “not very smart” decisions and now navigating a clash of two worlds. His Marty Byrde character as a “middle-aged white guy not making great calls, in our case to trim a corner off…he’s cheating a little bit” in Season 1 and now “they’re paying the bill for that.”
Bateman gave what he called “the short answer” when asked about his recent production deal with Netflix. He was inspired by Ron Howard’s career trajectory as an actor turned director/producer/Imagine Entertainment co-founder.
Netflix, he said “happens to be run by a group of people I am personally very fond of, and they could not be more kind and supportive. They were open to supporting that dream of mine,” he said, pointing to the projects he already was involved with at the streaming operation.
“I could not be more grateful they let me come over there and do that,” he said.