Ozark fans must’ve often wondered about the credibility behind Marty’s character; and if such people exist. Ozark is only fiction, but Sam Quinones has an explanation for its reality. He is an award-winning journalist who has reported on drug cartels, mafias, and drug traffickers for the past two decades. In an interview with Netflix Tudum, Sam explained in detail the workings of drug cartels in the US and how the show relates to it.
Is Marty Byrde from Ozark a real possibility?
Marty Byrde was a financial advisor in Chicago. He co-partnered a finance company with his friend Bruce. They agreed to launder money for a drug lord but Bruce started skimming from it. Soon after, the drug lord killed him for skimming money; but Marty was able to save himself by striking a deal with the drug lord: He agreed to launder $500 million in five years.
Netflix asked Sam if there’s ever been anyone like Marty Byrde. To which he said, “I’m going to say yes, there has been. This whole drug trafficking world works because they’ve got people on the lower level working with them and people finding ways of laundering money.” He also said cash businesses, restaurants, and markets are used for laundering.
When Bruce was killed right beside Marty and he knew he was next; Marty pointed at the Ozarks travel brochure that Bruce had given him earlier in the day. He asked the drug lord to let him launder money from the Ozarks because he saw an opportunity there.
Talking about how likely a small town like Ozarks is to have big money laundering rings, Sam said “I wouldn’t see how you would pull that off. Somebody would notice that. Just too large a sum of money.” Looks like showrunner Chris Mundy took some liberties on that aspect. But if not $500 million, can someone still launder money for kingpins at a town like Ozarks?
Do drug cartels, money launderers and local drug kingpins exist in a holiday town like the Ozarks?
Turns out, yet. “It’s a pretty realistic situation. Frequently, folks in Mexico, particularly higher-ups, are looking for locals to be their conduits for the dope to the local population; and then also businesses, particularly cash businesses, as places to launder the money,” said the journalist. So, the real Ozarks region could have its own Marty, whom Jason Bateman played excellently.
In the interview, he also talked about the drug revenue the midwest generates, the types of drugs that are a threat to society, and how easily can a local guy start a drug business. You can read the full interview here.
The real-life drug world aside, what do you think about Ozark and its characters being real?