Marriage is tough, especially when you’re running a money laundering operation for a Mexican drug cartel, working with the Kansas City mob, and dealing with the FBI breathing down your neck—all while contending with a spouse who doesn’t see eye to eye with you about how to simultaneously accomplish your goals and keep everyone, including your kids, safe. Such is the plight of Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) in season three of Netflix’s Ozark (premiering March 27), which remains as taut and grim as thrillers come.
For its latest go-round, the series (created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams) complicates its usual criminal nastiness with persistent marital strife, beginning with Marty and Wendy. Having now chosen to stay put in Osage Beach, Missouri, to scrub money for cartel boss Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) via their new riverboat casino The Missouri Belle, the duo find themselves at odds over whether to lay low or to expand. Theirs is a philosophical and strategic disagreement, and it’s soon exacerbated by the arrival of pregnant federal agent Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes), who’s in town to audit the Byrdes’ gambling venture and is sure, albeit without proof, that they’re in deep with south-of-the-border villains.
Taking a backseat isn’t easy for either Marty or Wendy, both of whom think they know the best way to protect their clan. To Wendy, that means purchasing another casino and segueing into legitimate businesses—a move that will provide Navarro with a financial safety net in case his ongoing war with a rival cartel goes south, as well as raise the Byrdes’ own public profile to the point that executing them would be unwise. Acquiring said casino, however, requires convincing its husband-and-wife owners to sell, and given that this couple’s own union is marked by angry, resentful power struggles, that’s far from a simple task—particularly when Marty decides to surreptitiously thwart Wendy’s plans, much to the chagrin of his wife and their cartel attorney Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer), who’s now firmly ensconced in the Ozarks for the summer with her daughter Erin (Madison Thompson), a teen eager to get into trouble.