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Marty (played by Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) just about made it to the fourth season of Ozark by the skin of their teeth following the dramatic scenes of the season three finale. Netflix viewers watched for years now as the husband and wife duo’s scheming and criminal ways have propelled them to the top of the Navarro Cartel’s hierarchy – while a number of characters have met their demise as a result of their actions. With scheming lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) the latest casualty of the Byrdes’ ways, will the pair go one step further and take out head honcho Omar Navarro (Felix Solis)?
Helen’s death was one that caught the Byrdes well and truly by surprise, with the pair both thinking their time had come on the Netflix series.
As Marty and Wendy accompanied Helen to Navarro’s home in Mexico, all looked set for the Byrdes to be killed off following a number of obstacles and mishaps that threatened the entire organisation – notably Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey).
But instead, it was Helen who was killed by Navarro’s trusty hitman Nelson (Nelson Bonilla), cementing their place as priorities within the cartel leader’s enterprise.
However, a clue dropped by both Linney and Bateman in a recent panel could suggest they’ll set their sights on the murderous drug lord to escape his clutches once and for all.
Discussing the how Helen’s death played out during a Deadline virtual panel in July, Bateman said: “You’ve got Wendy, Marty and Nelson, Helen’s bodyguard, approaching camera. Nelson kind of peels off and leaves frame and the three of us continue coming towards camera.
“There’s a reverse on Navarro, there’s a little meet and greet. I’ll be the spoiler alert, and she gets her head blown off but it’s in front of our faces. Literally, like a tree would fall down, right across the front of us and you’re left with our shocked and blood-splattered faces.
“Marty and Wendy, not only with the shock of someone being shot in front of them, but also the growing realisation of ‘what now? Oh, my God, I can’t believe what we’re going to have to go through with next season.’
“That’s sort of what we’re trying to signal to the audience, it’s an ultimate cliffhanger of the circumstances now.”
He added: “She’s been shot in front of us, and what Navarro is declaring is he would rather work with us than her is kind of ominous. Then you’ve also got the grief that Laura and I were feeling, that another incredible actor that Alexa Fogel [casting director] put in front of us has now gone forever.”
Linney agreed that her character and Marty were thinking “what next” when the two actors brought the scene to life.
“Absolutely, that’s it,” she concurred. “It’s the suspense of the meeting of Navarro and these two, because we have no idea really how he’s gonna meet us. If he’s gonna shoot us on the spot.
“The last thing the Byrdes thought would happen was Helen going down in front of us. In a way that’s his gift to us. Some people get a welcome basket, we got our nemesis murdered. The one who’s starting to get annoying, let me just take care of that.
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“But Jason’s absolutely right, it puts into everyone’s mind ‘now what? How do we move forward from this?’”
It’s this “now what” clue which could suggest the Byrdes are plotting their next move against the bloodthirsty cartel honcho.
After all, if they were merely willing to bow down as pawns in Navarro’s business, why would they be thinking of their next steps?
And given the fact they “never expected” Navarro to turn on Helen, surely Wendy and Marty are smart enough to know they will never be safe when working for him.
Considering Marty’s emphasis has often been to keep his family safe – think back to the proposed trip to Australia in season two – he could take the almighty step to have Navarro killed off.
The Byrdes clearly have done enough to earn Navarro’s trust, could they use this to their advantage to get closer to him?
Given Nelson killed Wendy’s brother Ben, there’s also an ulterior motive there for him to be killed in the process, leaving Navarro defenceless.
Considering the cast have already guaranteed more deaths on the way in season four, Navarro could certainly fit the bill – but fans will have to wait until it airs to find out for sure.
Ozark is available to stream on Netflix now.
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