Is the series ‘Ozark’ based on a true story?


Ozark is undeniably one of Netflix’s biggest hits and now that it has reached its end you may have questions about the story and its characters.

Set in the real world, with plenty of realistic characters, Ozark has managed to capture audiences by bringing a seemingly regular family into the criminal underworld of the Cartel.

Through the seasons these characters have massively evolved but one question that audiences may be wondering is whether or not the Byrdes are real people and if the show itself is based on a true story.

Is the series ‘Ozark’ based on a true story?

ozark season 4
Screengrab via Netflix

Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones who has spent decades covering real drug trafficking operations and gangs shared in a conversation with Netflix he has encountered characters like Marty Byrde in real life.

“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.”

Despite this, and while Ozark may be grounded in reality, the show’s story is not true.

The Byrdes are not a real family that has been involved in any money laundering for the Cartel nor is the Navarro Cartel a real group.

The show uses fictional characters and organizations in its story, though its systems for laundering money — which is at the core of its plot are real systems that are used by criminals around the world today.

Quinones, however, did reduce some validity to Ozark’s story, as he explained laundering the large sums of money seen in the show in a place like the Ozarks wouldn’t be possible. He also shared that the amount of money the Byrdes were given to launder in the shown is not realistic and would be an extremely tough task without using a bank.

While the story of Ozark may not be true, the show appears to have been well researched to provide viewers as close to real life as can be, with the added drama that makes the show one of Netflix’s best.

About the author

Ryan Galloway

Ryan Galloway

Assigning Editor for We Got This Covered, avid moviegoer and Marvel enjoyer.