10 shows like ‘Ozark’ that are just as criminally dramatic

ozark season 4
Photo via Netflix

Ozark, Netflix’s heart-stopping crime drama created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, premiered back in 2017 and officially concluded with the hit series’ eye-popping final season, which was split into two separate parts. The enthralling drama series stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as Marty and Wendy Byre, a husband and wife duo who are involved in a money-laundering scheme for a powerful Mexican drug cartel. The plot also focuses on Marty and Wendy’s children — Charlotte and Jonah — and features several other key characters that impact the show’s chaos.

Ozark has garnered a tremendous amount of success and is now regarded as one of Netflix’s most popular shows. Its gritty tone and haywire narrative kept fans coming back for more, but since the series has ended, viewers may be on the lookout for a show with a similar theme and a familiar edge to it. If that’s you, you’er in luck ⏤ these 10 dramas are just as criminally dramatic, addictive, and pulse-quickening as Netflix’s Ozark.

Breaking Bad

AMC’s award-winning Breaking Bad is considered to be one of the greatest television series of all time. Created by Vince Gilligan, the series follows Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns to cooking crystal meth to financially provide for his family after being diagnosed with lung cancer. The situation soon turns deadly as Walter is forced to juggle the complexities of his personal life with the danger surrounding his professional life.

While Breaking Bad in its prime was undeniably more popular than Ozark, the two shows share a similar premise in that their main characters have to make difficult decisions in an attempt to salvage their families. While Walter and Marty begin as seemingly normal individuals who indulge in the inner workings of criminal activity, it would be impossible to decide the lesser of the two evils by the series’ climaxes. Just like Ozark, you can watch Breaking Bad now on Netflix.

Better Call Saul

Much like Ozark, Better Call Saul concluded its fantastic run with a heart-stopping final season that fans are still raving about. The series serves as a spin-off prequel of Breaking Bad ⏤ both created by Vince Gilligan ⏤ and follows Jimmy McGill’s path to becoming criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. The crime drama includes several characters from Breaking Bad, including a more in-depth look into Gus Fring’s drug operation as well as Mike Ehrmantraut’s involvement.

Ozark and Better Call Saul are both cauldrons of perpetual drama, showcasing normal protagonists driven to the obstacles within a world of crime syndicates. The characters are insanely complex and often place themselves into unexpected situations that only make their lives worse. You can watch Better Call Saul now on Netflix.

The Sopranos

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of the groundbreaking series The Sopranos. The scintillating series ran from 1999 to 2007 and featured a memorable cast of complex characters, including New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano and his dysfunctional family. The series focuses on multiple difficulties that Tony faces as he balances his professional and personal life as a member of the Italian mafia.

The Sopranos shares a similar premise with Ozark in terms of its familial theme as well as motifs including desperation and resiliency. The Sopranos essentially laid the groundwork for many other criminal drama series that came after it, so surely fans of Ozark will appreciate the legacy and ever-present chaos of Tony Soprano’s insane lifestyle. You can watch it now on Hulu.


Dexter Morgan is a memorable television character whose out-of-this-world story was expanded last year with Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood. Adapted from a series of novels by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter first premiered in 2006 on Showtime and follows Dexter Morgan, an intellectual forensic technician who moonlights as a serial killer and hunts down criminals that have escaped the repercussions of the justice system.

The elements in Ozark and Dexter are slightly different, as there’s no involvement in drugs and cartels in Dexter’s world, but the show breeds a familial element as Marty tries to keep his family safe while the complicated connection between Dexter and his sister remains prominent. As such, the drama is in full swing, which will fully engage fans of Ozark. You can watch Dexter on Hulu.


Narcos is arguably the most similar series to Ozark in terms of showcasing the ins and outs of powerful drug cartels. The engaging Netflix series follows infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the confrontational situations he finds himself in. Throughout the series, Escobar struggles to build his own empire while maneuvering around sneaky DEA agents.

Seeing as both Ozark and Narcos deal with powerful crime syndicates and plenty of action-packed scenarios, fans will undoubtedly succumb to the Pablo Escobar-inspired series. While the show is based on actual events, it’s certainly been dramatized and pushed a pulse-pounding narrative, which fans have become enamored with. Of course, it also helps when you’ve got the internet’s daddy Pedro Pascal in the cast. You can watch it now on Netflix.

Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders has captured fans’ attention ever since it premiered in 2013, and much like Ozark, the series concluded with a highly memorable season that perplexed our minds and emotions alike. The heart-pounding BBC One series follows the Peaky Blinders gang in Birmingham, England after the First World War, with a special focus on Tommy Shelby and his many conflicts.

Like Ozark, the drama series focuses on intense family values and conflicting circumstances, which often result in difficult decisions being made. Since fans of Ozark devotedly support Marty Byrde on his complicated journey, there’s no doubt that they would certainly admire Tommy and the entire Shelby gang as well. You can watch the series now on Netflix.


Netflix’s Bloodline is a riveting crime series that surrounds its element of corruption in the Florida Keys. The series premiered in 2015 and concluded its third and final season in 2017, though its dramatic legacy still captivates viewers to this day. Bloodline follows the flawed Rayburn family, the members of which possess deeply-rooted secrets as tension within their lives begins to rise.

Despite Ozark taking place in the Ozark mountains in Missouri and Bloodline’s setting being the Florida Keys, the similarities between the plots are absolutely uncanny. The series is full of outrageous characters portrayed by talented performances, with Kyle Chandler’s in particular receiving critical acclaim. You can watch it now on Netflix.

Mad Men

Mad Men is one of those shows that immediately caught fire for its highly addictive television brilliance. The series premiered in 2007 on AMC and concluded in 2015, yet its legacy is forever solidified as one of the best shows in a relatively golden age of television. The drama series follows charming advertising executive Don Draper and the complications of his personal life as it begins to interfere with his professional determination to rise in the ranks.

Much like Jason Bateman’s standout performance in Ozark, John Hamm’s iconic portrayal as Don Draper in Mad Men is a valuable piece of the puzzle that keeps fans coming back for a rewatch. Aside from Don himself, the gritty drama is filled with many other charismatic characters who undergo their own obstacles, which makes the show a certified classic. You can watch it now on Amazon Prime Video.

The Wire

To this day, The Wire is considered by many to be the greatest television series of all time. Its gripping narrative and memorable characters helped make the thrilling show an enormous success. The series premiered on HBO in 2002 and concluded its fifth and final season in 2008. Set in Baltimore, The Wire follows several law enforcement officials as they navigate drug trades and government involvement with many ongoing storylines intertwining together.

The similarities involving drug trades and cartels between Ozark and The Wire is exceptionally strong. Additionally, both shows consist of a memorable cast of characters that perfectly depict the troubles within both the legal and justice system. There’s certainly plenty of content here for Ozark fans to enjoy just as much as the Netflix original. You can watch it now on HBO Max.

Boardwalk Empire

The engaging period drama Boardwalk Empire is a hidden gem amongst a string of successful television shows. The chaotic series, which premiered on HBO in 2010 and ran until 2014, focuses on Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a corrupt political figure in New Jersey who moonlights as a bootlegger during the Prohibition Era. The series features an ensemble cast, including Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Kelly Macdonald, and Michael Pitt, as well as several prominent guest appearances.

Ozark and Boardwalk Empire have a variety of similarities, including the transformation of both main characters into much more complex men. Both series force their main protagonists to endure a plethora of strenuous undertakings, which is exactly why Ozark fans should definitely give the period drama a watch. You can watch it now on Hulu.

About the author

Taylor Mansfield

Taylor Mansfield

Fascinated by the art of journalism, Taylor Mansfield has been writing for over 10 years. In the present day, she lends her expertise as a Staff Writer / Editor for WGTC, tackling a broad range of topics such as movies, television, celebrity news, and of course… *anything* horror! Because wherever there is horror — Taylor isn't far behind. She has previously contributed to entertainment sites such as GamersDecide, MovieWeb, and The Nerd Stash.