How Did Sheriff John Nix Die in Ozark?

Ozark‘ follows Marty Byrde, the financial advisor to the Mexican Navarro Cartel, as he moves his family to a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. Things are not as peaceful as Marty expects them to be down in the Ozarks, and he soon crosses paths with the local drug-running Snell family, who hold the town’s sheriff in their pocket.

Sheriff John Nix retains a tenuous hold on power in his town but deftly maneuvers through the various crime syndicates functioning under his watch. His loyalty to the Snells gives the homely heroin manufacturing couple a convenient advantage over the other groups — until the sheriff goes missing. Is Sheriff John Nix dead? It sure seems like it. Let’s take a look at what we know. SPOILERS AHEAD.

How Did Sheriff John Nix Die?

John Nix has been exceptional at keeping out of trouble since his character is introduced all the way back in season 1. As sheriff, he remains largely loyal to the Snells and is just involved enough with other local crime syndicates so as to extract the occasional favor. When Navarro’s lawyer Helen Pierce meets a surprising end in the season 3 finale, she fails to return to her holiday cottage in the Ozarks. Word eventually reaches Sheriff Nix that Helen is missing, and he heads over to her cottage to investigate.

As it turns out, Navarro’s maniacal nephew Javi, who becomes the Byrdes’ primary antagonist for much of season 4, has decided to take up temporary residence in Helen’s unused cottage. And so, it is Javi that Sheriff Nix encounters during his investigation and the cartel boss impulsively kills the unsuspecting sheriff. The murder and its aftermath essentially help audiences grasp just how reckless Javi is, as he then shows up at the Byrde residence in the Sheriff’s car, with the dead official in the trunk.

And so, Sheriff Nix’s body is taken to the Byrdes’ (ominously oft-used) crematorium and incinerated. Unfortunately, Jonah sees his parents handling the dead body, which opens up an entirely separate can of worms. Omar Navarro is also shocked by his nephew’s callous behavior and berates him for killing a US law official. However, for the most part, the sheriff’s death remains a mystery to most, and he is considered to be missing.

When the interim Sheriff Guerrero isn’t as forthcoming as her predecessor to Darlene’s requests, the heroin manufacturer begins digging around, trying to decipher what happened to John Nix. She eventually bullies Jonah into revealing he saw his parents with the body, and Darlene adds this to the growing list of “complaints” she has against the Byrdes. In fact, Javi’s murder of John Nix, though ill-advised, is not completely random.

The maniacal cartel boss has had his sights set on Darlene for a while and the first thing he asks Marty when they are introduced is what he plans to do about the Snell matriarch. Marty, forced to respond, mentions that the Snells are well connected to the Sheriff. The next thing we know, Javi has killed the sheriff in question. This is also why Javi claims to be “helping” the Byrdes by killing Sheriff John Nix, essentially hinting that he’s cleared the path for Marty to go after Darlene Snell.

Read More: Does FBI Agent Maya Miller Die in Ozark Season 4?