We have seen a number of TV shows about drug cartels. Netflix has delivered popular and critically acclaimed shows like ‘Narcos’, and you have surely binged on that and more. One of the things that happen in these stories is the sudden influx of money. One day you are a petty thief trying to make it big in the criminal world, and in the next, you are drowning in cash. Where do they keep all this money? How much can they possibly stash away? This is where money launderers come in.
They come up with ingenious ways to clean the drug money and make it look legal. But it is not a child’s game. ‘Ozark’ tells the story of a man who gets caught up in this business and has to work against impossible odds to keep himself and his family alive. You can catch the first season of the show on Netflix. Or, you can breeze through the recap here.
Marty and the Mexicans
Marty Byrde had been a simple, though bright, financial advisor, working with his friend, Bruce. One day, a man named Camino Del Rio walked into their firm and asked them to look at his accounts. Marty could tell there was something fishy there and he refused to accept him as a client. But Del found a way around his inhibitions, and soon, Marty found himself laundering money for the Mexican cartel. The problem began when, one day, Del showed up again, out of the blue, accusing them of stealing from him.
Turns out Bruce and their employers had been chipping away at what Del had been sending them, and over the course of five years, they stole $8 million from him. Del killed them all and was about to do the same to Marty when he came up with a plan about relocating operations to the Ozarks. First, Del made him give back the money that his partner had stolen, and then gave him a couple of months to clean all that money, just to see if the scheme would work at all. He was expecting Marty to fail, but the man surprised him.
Marty and the Snells
As soon as he came to the Ozarks, Marty started looking for the business that could help him launder money. First, he invested in the Blue Cat hotel and bar, reviving the business. But that wasn’t enough, so he brought the strip club that he had eyed in the beginning. The manager of the place had been stoic about not going to business with him, but with some help, Marty got his hands on the bearer bonds and coaxed him into selling the place. What Marty didn’t know was that the strip club had been the site of money cleansing for the Snells, the local crime lords who made their money by selling heroin.
Pastor Mason Young used to give his sermons on the assembly that took place on the water, and this is what Snell used as the place to move his product. Both the pastor and Marty didn’t know that. Marty needed another thing to get the money flowing, so he came up with the idea of building a church. He got the pastor interested, too. But this messed with Snell’s operations so the church had to burn down and Marty had to give whatever money he had (more than 700,000) to Snell as compensation. The pastor was asked to keep the sermons going, but he couldn’t compromise with his principals, so his pregnant wife disappeared, leaving behind the new-born.
Marty and the Langmores
Before they found a house in the Ozarks, the Byrde family stayed in a motel. The money that Del had given to Marty was still in suitcases, and he left his children Charlotte and Jonah to look after it. The kids didn’t know about the money and thinking that they had nothing of value to guard, took some time off from the motel room. Charlotte hung out with Wyatt Langmore and his brother, and Jonah explored by himself. In their absence, Ruth Langmore, who worked at the motel, broke into their room and stole some money.
Marty found out their spot and confronted them about it, telling them about the money and the Mexicans. The Langmores returned what they had stolen, keeping a small portion as their compensation. Ruth made Marty hire her at the Blue Cat. She planned to learn how to launder money, so she could steal from Marty and kill him later. She helped him take over the strip club, and he made her the manager of the place. On the behest of her father, Cade, who is in prison, she tried to kill Marty, but someone rigged her plan. Later, her uncles tried to do the same, but by that time, the situation had changed and she killed them instead.
Marty and the FBI
Just after he relocates to the Ozarks, Marty discovers that Bruce had been an informant for the FBI. They ask him to inform for them, offering witness protection in return, but Marty had been too scared to move against Del. FBI Agent Roy Petty discovered Marty’s connection with the Langmores and planned to turn one of them to inform on Marty, eventually targeting him to do as initially intended. He lures Ruth’s uncle, Russ, into a friendship which turns into a romantic connection.
When Ruth tries to kill Marty, Roy stops her and uses Russ’s confession for conspiracy for murder to turn him. Russ tries to do the same to Ruth, but she becomes suspicious. Facing jail-time, all thanks to FBI, and knowing that Ruth knew what he was doing, Russ and his brother decide to kill Marty by themselves, get the money and run away. But Ruth kills them. Roy knows she did it, but he can’t prove it.
Sandwiched between Del and Snell, Marty comes up with a plan to unify them. They agree upon it and the deal is finalised, but Del calls them “rednecks” and Snell’s wife won’t have it. She kills him. This creates more problem for Marty because no Del means more Mexicans heading to the Ozarks. Snell consoles him, saying that he is one of them now and they will take care of him. Marty had succeeded in cleaning the 8-mil and then received 50-mil to do the same. Rachel, the owner of the Blue Cat who came to know about Marty’s operations, steals the 50-mil and drives away. Marty tries to send his family away, getting them new identities, but they come back to him.