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‘Ozark’ Season 2: Jason Bateman Teases the ‘Escalation’ Ahead and His Difficulty Killing Off Characters

Netflix’s addictive crime drama that also stars Laura Linney and Julia Garner will return later this year.

Jason Bateman, "Ozark"

Jackson Davis/Netflix

[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from Season 1 of “Ozark.”]

When “Ozark” left the Byrde family in the Season 1 finale, they were in even deeper trouble than before. Marty (Jason Bateman) had almost convinced his family to leave him behind for a new life, but in the end, they decided to stick it out together in the Ozarks, come what may.

At an Emmy For Your Consideration event held at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood on Saturday, Bateman revealed that the new season will pick right up on that night following the new deal that Marty had made with the Jacob Snell (Peter Mullan), a local crime lord who specializes in heroin.

“There is the escalation,” Bateman told Variety’s Jenelle Riley, who moderated the panel. “It was $8 million in this [past] season that the Byrdes had to try to figure out how to work with. And Marty’s got $50 million now that he’s got to wash. And we’re offseason [in the Ozarks], so we don’t have the lake for the income potential there, so he’s got to diversify. He talks about a casino in that last scene [in the Season 1 finale], and so we start to try to get that together.”

The plan that Marty had outlined to the Snells in the finale had involved running a riverboat casino. But first, they had to dam up part of their local stream in order to make it a flood and create more of a river.

In the meantime, his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) – who had cheated on him but appears to value Marty again – brought the kids back to the Ozarks even though they had new identities in hand, ready to be used elsewhere. While this makes the entire Byrde family a target, the kids had already been involved once the parents had enlisted their help in the more mundane tasks in money laundering.

Executive producer Chris Mundy teased that “all the things that happen next season, it’s a lot of family conflict basically.”

Jason Bateman, Julia Garner, Chris Mundy, Executive Producer,

Jason Bateman, Julia Garner, and Chris Mundy

Eric Charbonneau/Netflix

Family matters will also consume Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), whose father Cade Langmore (Trevor Long) will be back in the picture. Not only will he displeased that his brothers, Ruth’s uncles, died in a freak electrocution “accident,” but Marty’s presence as Ruth’s surrogate father and mentor will also be a potential problem.

“What complicates things a little bit is that her dad comes back,” said Bateman. “So there is a paternal dynamic here that gets complicated when he comes out of jail and he doesn’t like me as much as she does. The question is: Will he grow to? Where’s her allegiance going to be?”

Garner added, “She’s having a little bit of an identity crisis in Season 2. Let’s put it that way.”

Making a Killing

As with any crime drama, characters getting offed is a natural consequence of the story and power struggle. Bateman also serves as the show’s executive producer and director – he directed four episodes in Season 1 and two in the upcoming season – and feels an extra responsibility for these deaths.

“You know what was hard was killing people,” he confessed. “I mean, you know we decide who’s dying before the season starts and then you cast these people and then you fall in love with these people. Alexa Fogel is an incredible casting director. She gives us these incredible actors who are all incredible people too. We have a great time together, and you’re flipping the calendar pages, and it’s like, ‘We’ve only got another few days together.’”

Mundy chimed in, “Yeah, I’ve made some really tough phone calls the last two years.”

One death in Season 2 hit the cast and crew particularly hard, and to honor the “deceased,” the production sent that person off in style with a wake.

Bateman said, “It was full chairs, like a full wake, and [Laura Linney] marched Chris down the aisle-way dressed as the Grim Reaper and gave the eulogy.”

”Ozark” Season 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix. The second season is expected sometime in 2018.

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