Given how Season 3 of Ozark ended it's apparent that the Byrde's are 2020's answer to the Corleone Family of many Godfather films ago. The reality for all the Byrde's is every time they think they are out, whether this means skipping town or being killed, fate seems to smile on them in an unexpected way and "pulls them back in." All of this would seem predictable if the show was anything but that leading up to the final denouement of every season. So with Season 3 concluding with one of the main (and seemingly untouchable) characters having their brains blown out all over Marty and Wendy, it's only natural to wonder, "What in the world is going to happen in Season 4?"
The best way to parse through where Ozark Season 4 might go is through the characters. Ozark is a show that is predicated on the laws of cause and effect. It's why so many characters are on edge and it's also why so many characters die. It is because of this causation that it seems the best course of action is to look at where the characters are at the end of Season 3. Sure, we can look at other episodes and other seasons, but one thing Ozark does so deftly is to show that what happened in the past doesn't really matter in the present or the future. So sit back and enjoy a character study on Ozark Season 4 and every direction the show could go.
*Warning: Many Spoilers Ahead*
Marty Byrde - After surviving what seemed like an attempted coup from his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and the new deceased Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer), Martin Byrde (Jason Bateman) finds himself in a very curious position. He warned Wendy about getting involved with the Omar Navarro and his drug cartel. Wendy didn't listen and now the Byrde's are deeper into that than they ever could've imagined. This says nothing of the brewing war with Special Agent Maya Miller (Jessica Francis Dukes), Agent Trevor Evans (McKinley Belcher III), Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), Frank Cosgrove (John Bedford Lloyd), and the list really does go on and on. Martin Byrde is a character who is all about logic. He's all about numbers, patterns, and human behavior. It's how he's able to be emotionless in the most stressful circumstances. He's always been the smartest guy in the room. The trick for his, and his family's, survival is to not outsmart himself. In Season 4, it seems he is going to embrace his new role is a consigliere of sorts to the Navarro cartel. Marty will find new ways to launder money that will make him valuable to his enemies. As such, even though many would like to see him and his family eradicated from the face of the earth, it seems a fair bet that he's too valuable to cut loose. The question is which character (Darlene, Agent Evans, Cosgrove, etc.) will be the one to make the move against Marty in the hopes that what they have to offer is more valuable? Ozark is really a show where the saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" applies.
Wendy Byrde - Ozark Season 3 was really Wendy's season. She had an emotional arc that started off with ice-water running through her veins. By the end, she was stripped bare for everyone to see. Her emotions running every gambit as she, admittedly, aided in having her brother killed. This was Wendy's Michael Corleone moment. However, she didn't handle it nearly as robotically as he did. Wendy went from nearly taking over the family business to understanding her husband a little bit better. I dare say, she may have gained just a bit more of an appreciation for Marty's mindset. Look for her to still be recovering from the loss of her brother in Ozark Season 4. She will have good days and bad days. Work will be Wendy's form of respite. She will throw herself into it wholeheartedly, however, there will be moments where she's reminded off what transpired between her and her next of kin. This says nothing of the problems she is going to face with Darlene (who will no doubt try and have her killed - she might even do the job herself), Ruth, Sheriff Nix, and the biggest loos-end of all... Erin Pierce.
Ben Davis - There is a popular opinion that Ben (Tom Pelphrey) isn't actually dead. When he was supposedly taken out by Nelson we never saw him actually killed. In fact, we never saw his face when his body was cremated. This could very well be the case. In writing this story it was written as if Ben was in fact dead. Should he not be we will no doubt be teased with his presence in Season 4. It is conceivable that we might not even see him as a central character until Season 5. The reality is that if and when he becomes more of a major player this will create problems for the Byrde's due to Ben's neurological issues. It will also certainly effect Jonah's and Ruth's behavior. Ozark is a show that prides itself on being one step ahead of its audience. Bringing Ben back only to see him causing more issues for Marty and Wendy Byrde seems like a dry heave in terms of character development. It is for this reason that Ben being alive was written as an aside and not as one of the characters that could still effect the show's plot.
Charlotte Byrde - This character, played by Sofia Hublitz, was fairly underused except in the beginning of Episode 9 when she had to confirm for Eric Pierce (Madison Thompson) the truth about her mother. This was classic Wendy Byrde being channeled through her daughter. The truth was told in a world of untruths and at the same time there was no room to discuss or digest it... it just had to be. In that moment we basically saw the future, if there is one for the Byrde family. Season 4 is probably going to be a difficult one for Charlotte in that she is going to have to really face up to the actions of her family. This will come from outside forces like Ruth, Wyatt and Erin... but her biggest issue is going to be closer to home. In a bit of a repeat of the dynamic that we saw between Wendy and her brother Ben, Charlotte is literally going be putting out many fires set by her brother Jonah (Skylar Gaertner). She's going to involve her parents and this will create all other kinds of issues for her. Also, look for mom and dad to give her more responsibilities. At first, they are going to seem like normal "big sister" tasks. As Charlotte feels her role more she is going to unwittingly find herself drawn deeper into the family business. All this will serve to put her at odds with both Martin and Wendy's enemies, as well as Martin and Wendy themselves.
Jonah Byrde - Young Jonah starts the season in striking fashion in that he doesn't look so young anymore. Also, considering he has what appears to be his first kiss with Erin Pierce, there's no telling how that is going to inform his character in Season 4. Why? Well, lets just say you never forget your first. As the 3rd Season ends Jonah, furious about the death of his Uncle Ben and his parent's seeming inaction and involvement in the killing, takes a shotgun and blows out one of the windows of the house. With each crumbling, falling shard of glass it becomes clear that his character is becoming more and more undone. This seems to be the direction we will see his character go in Season 4. However, he's very much his father's son so there is an element of masking his emotions that it seems like only Charlotte will see. At the same time, what Jonah does on his own, with his drone (and possibly the footage he captured from in Season 3), will no doubt create problems for his family. Wendy, still dealing with her actions from the previous season, will dive headlong into saving her son... but is she mentally equipped to presently do so? How might Ruth and Wyatt potentially exploit this? Could they talk in Jonah's ear and possibly get him to turn against his parents? For all we know, Jonah could see this as a way to support Erin Pierce. It seems only natural that he would reach out to her via text, social media, or perhaps on one of the games he plays online. Whatever happens, Season 4 will be the episode that this character really comes of age.
Ruth Langmore - Ruth (Julia Garner) falling out with Wendy and Martin Byrde isn't very surprising. She showed utter loyalty to the family when she helped kill her Uncle's Russ (Marc Menchaca) and Boyd (Christopher James Baker) in Season 1. So it should surprise nobody that after being Marty's "right hand" for much of Season 2, a season that saw the Byrde's employ the Navarro Cartel to kill Ruth's father Cade, that Ruth would expect nothing but 100% loyalty from the Byrde family. She doesn't get it which is what leads to her breaking away and joining up with Darlene (with an assist from her estranged cousin Wyatt) midway through the 3rd Season. Episode 4 seems poised to see Darlene at her most powerful. Unfortunately, Ruth is too solid to just go along with this new arrangement. While she might appreciate Darlene's "direct" approach to things, lets not forget that Ruth also has an affinity for how the Byrde's do business. Also, I don't think she's 100% kosher with the relationship between Wyatt and Darlene. It doesn't appear that it's the May-December aspect of the relationship that bothers her, rather, I think that it's Darlene's Svengali like hold on Wyatt that is ultimately going to be the deal breaker. When this happens Ruth is going to once again have to choose, and there's no guarantee she takes up with the Byrde family. Sadly, this character may not have a choice because, at present, she doesn't seem to have enough resources to go out on her own.
Wyatt Langmore - Charlie Tahan plays this character as a righteously pissed off millennial with a deep soul. It's a big part of why we root for him. Wyatt's sadness was palpable in Season 2. It was in that Season that the wedge between him and Ruth became even deeper. Not only did she kill his father but, in the process, Ruth further deepened her allegiances to the Byrde's. Now that Ruth and Wyatt are (seemingly) being groomed by Darlene to take over her heroin business, it seems like Wyatt might start having problems with Ruth again. Lets not forget that by shacking up with Darlene, Wyatt, for a time was able insulate himself from the outside world. Now that he and Ruth are going to be around one another more, despite how much it seems like they made up, cracks will inevitable show. How can they not? Ruth embodies the betrayal that Wyatt no doubt still feels. Also, there's the possibility that he will start to grow weary of Darlene? Relationship bliss doesn't last forever. In the case of Wyatt and Darlene, things are bound to change sooner rather than later. Might we see a situation where Wyatt goes the way of the late Jacob Snell (Peter Mullan)? This would certainly drive Ruth away and possible back into the arms of the Byrde's. Darlene could potentially take out Ruth, thus causing Wyatt to defect but he has less moves to make in that scenario. Whatever happens, Wyatt Langmore will be a bigger player in Season 4 of Ozark than ever before.
Darlene Snell - For all intents and purposes it seemed like Darlene Snell might be on the outs at the end of Season 2. Sure, she would still have power and command a degree of respect, but it appeared that the actions of her husband, the Byrde's, and Helen had severely marginalized her. Darlene is shrewd, however. She laid low amid her heroin empire with baby Zeke ( a child that was given to her by Marty Byrde). After taking Wyatt in and starting a relationship together, Darlene played this whole scenario to perfection. She got Wyatt to reconcile with Ruth and in the process made her see just how bad the Byrde's are. Darlene strengthened her bond with Ruth by taking care of Frank Cosgrove, Jr. after he assaulted her, and the Byrde's seemingly did nothing about it. Season 4 looks to be Darlene's time to shine. She will no doubt wield great power as the season starts. This will certainly put her in the crosshairs of the Byrde family who are now backed by the Navarro cartel. Darlene isn't going into this firefight alone. She seems like she will have the aide of the Frank Cosgrove Sr. While this isn't guaranteed, and maybe Frank ultimately tries to have Darlene killed for what she did to his son, in the near future it makes more sense for them to be allies. However this plays out, look for Darlene to be the thorniest of thorns in the side of the Byrde family.
Three Langmore - Three (Carson Holmes) made it pretty clear in Season 3 of Ozark that he's really not a fan of Wyatt and Darlene's relationship. Season 4 will probably see overtures from Wyatt, Ruth, and Darlene to bring Three into the fold. Whether this works or not is anybody's guess. Prevailing wisdom about Ozark also has this as the season that Three finds out that Ruth killed his father. A lot of pundits are speculating that Three will join up with the Byrde family to enact some sort of revenge. This could happen but Ruth ultimately killed Three's father for the Byrde family. Why would he take up with the people that were behind doing his father in? Perhaps Three can compartmentalize this? Maybe he realizes that Ruth wasn't asked to do it? She did electrocute Russ Langmore of her own volition. Whatever happens, look for Three to have some serious problems with Ruth which could re-open old wounds for Wyatt. If that happens Ruth might find herself a woman "without a country." Either way, Season 4 of Ozark looks to be an opportunity where characters like Three Langmore come out of the shadows a bit.
Sam Dermody - This poor character, played by Kevin L. Johnson, really seems to be on the chopping block going into Season 4. After selling the Byrde's their home in Season 1, to running one of their gentlemen's clubs later on, Sam Dermody seems to work for the Byrde's while both knowing and not knowing who he's working for. Throughout Season 3 we see him helping to launder money by losing at the Byrde's casino. He knows this is wrong, he knows he shouldn't be doing this, and with Special Agent Maya Miller breathing down his neck he REALLY shouldn't doing this. Yet, Sam is Sam so he continues and gets popped at the end of the season. So now the FBI has Sam who they can use against Marty and Co. The FBI can blow up both his operation and the Navarro Cartel's interests in the US. In fact, they'd be doing Darlene and Frank Sr. a favor. So Sam has to be taken out, right? Wrong. That is too easy of an end for this character. It seems that Sam will either start working for Maya, making him semi-untouchable because anybody that does him in would be doing it under the watchful eye of the Feds. Or, we might see Sam suddenly get very shrewd and become a mini-version of Martin Byrde. This could last for awhile but the reality would soon hit home that he isn't smart enough to pull it off.
Agent Trevor Evans - This Federal Agent wants Marty Byrde in the worst way. Evans (McKinley Belcher III) knows that pulling Marty's card will make the whole house that the Byrde empire sits on come crashing down. He has many reasons for wanting to see Marty Byrde behind bars but the biggest one is because he sees him as responsible for the death of Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner). Season 4 will see the race between Agent Evans and Special Agent Maya Miller to get Marty Byrde continue. In fact, I am willing to wager that we will see Agent Evans become even more ruthless in his pursuing of the Byrde empire. Could Evans somehow team up with Sam Dermody? Might he find favor with Darlene, Ruth or one of the people in that group? Could Agent Evans have something going with the Kansas City Mob and that allows him to persuade Frank Sr. to move on Marty? Something tells us Agent Evans, as much as he wants to take down Marty and Wendy Byrde, has had an ace up his sleeve that he's going to bring to the table in Season 4 of Ozark.
Sheriff Nix - The final episodes of Ozark Season 3 made it apparent who Sheriff Nix (Robert C. Treveiler) has his allegiances with. When Darlene wants him to do something, Nix does it and his demands are minimal in return. On the face of it, Nix appears to be okay with this because of his tribal allegiances to the Snells. At he same time, on shows like this things are not always as they seem. What if Sheriff Nix doesn't like his relationship with Darlene? What if, though he might despise them, he'd rather work with the Byrde's? Or, none of them? I am not suggesting that Nix is going to go rogue and suddenly eliminate his business partners. It just seems like he might be tired of business being the status quo and he could be open to working with others. Shows like Ozark are famous for pumping new blood in from season to season. We could potentially see him join forces with somebody whose interests are more aligned with his. Or, maybe Sheriff Nix's ally has been on the show all along? Whatever happens, he seems poised to make a vertical move in Season 3.
Nelson - Nelson Bonilla plays this character with all of the cool detachment that we expect from our paid killers. He's that classic character that when he enters a situation we know why he's there and we know somebody is going to die. In Season 3 we were let a bit more into his psyche when he visited the Byrde's counselor. He talked a bit about himself and then it became clear that it was nothing but a ploy to kill her. What did he tell her? Was it true? It doesn't really matter. What matters now is that Nelson worked for Helen and now she's gone. Add to this that Ruth is still devastated over the death of Ben and it seems like this character might be public enemy number one (after the Byrde's of course). The bigger question is who does he work for now. It's never been implicitly stated. Was he killer for hire that Helen employed? Is he on the Navarro payroll? That second option seems the most plausible. If that is the the case then he would go right on working for the Byrde's, it seems. There's just the minor issue of him having killed Wendy's brother. Whatever his role is, Omar Navarro is going to want somebody watching and protecting Marty and Wendy. What better person then Nelson?
Special Agent Maya Miller - Maya Miller is the Columbo of Ozark. There are times it seems like she has Marty dead to rights. Then there are other moments where it seems like this character is floundering. That the people she's after are two or three steps ahead and she's never going to catch up. Factor into this whole affair that Agent Trevor Evans is trying to achieve a similar goal, and everything Maya is hoping to accomplish looks like a fool's errand. This doesn't even take into consideration that she's playing a massive head-game of chicken with Marty Byrde or that she's pregnant! There has been a clock on this character ever since she was introduced in Season 3. So now that the Byrde family is deeper into the Navarro Cartel then ever before what happens with Maya's character? Navarro still expects Marty to "turn" her, right? Does Marty secretly wish to take her offer of jail time and job with the FBI? Is Maya secretly working for Navarro like so many show watchers believe? One thing about a character like Maya is that they are consistent. They follow patterns. Marty Byrde emphasized how important that aspect of a person's behavior is. Look for Maya to continue putting the screws into the Byrde family. It it will be slow, steady, and for a long time seem completely foolish. Until it isn't and Maya looks like the smartest person in the room... or at least someone with a pretty full deck of cards. At the same time, she will also deal with Agent Evans who will no doubt overplay the hand he thinks he holds over the Byrde family.
Frank Cosgrove, Jr. - Joseph Sikora played the character of Frank Jr. with such a big chip on his shoulder it was awesome to see Ruth give him all the comeuppance he deserved. Eventually, Frank Jr. realized he couldn't play Ruth's game so he got violent. This is what led to Darlene shooting his ding-a-ling off. Now, we don't know if Frank is dead or just in very critical condition. His character, aside from laying in a hospital bed, probably won't be doing too much in Season 4. However, what happened to him will not be forgotten and it either means that the Cosgrove and Snell families are in business together (unless Darlene decides she doesn't like the terms of her own deal) or there's going to be a war brewing. As previously discussed, both of these camps have a common enemy... the Byrde family. More than anything, should Frank Jr. recover, he is certainly more of a wildcard than his father. It's only a matter of time before he seeks revenge on Ruth or looks to step out of Frank Sr's shadow. Should this happen, Frank Jr. will be taken out for good.
Navarro - Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) surprised all of us at the end of last season. It seemed like Marty and Wendy Byrde were marching to their deaths. With Helen behind them it was a shock to all when she was taken out by the Navarro Cartel. This character appeared to be done with the Byrde's. Their business practices had left him exposed and vulnerable and it seemed like it was time to cut ties. It seems that one of the things that tipped Navarro's hand was when Marty gave Agent Miller footage of the Lagunas Cartel. It showed them killing members of the Kansas City mob on US soil. (Marty of course didn't tell her that the footage was procured by his son Jonah's drone). For the moment, the heat was off Navarro and he was probably elated at what the Byrde's had done for him and his Cartel. Sadly, for the Byrde's this won't make their lives any easier in Season 4. Helen may have been ruthless but she gave Marty and Wendy a way to check Navarro's temperature without engaging him. Now they are going to be on the frontlines and, as Navarro has shown, he has high expectations. At one point Wendy had spoken about taking in Navarro's kids to protect them from the ongoing drug war Navarro is facing. What was once thought of as a way to curry favor and protection, proved not to be the case as look what happened to Helen. Ozark Season 4 seems to be pitting the Byrde's and Navarro against the Kansas City crime syndicate, Darlene Snell, and the FBI. For a person who doesn't like to be exposed, Navarro has his nose open more now than ever before. He isn't going to like this and the Byrde's might find themselves with one less friend.
Frank Cosgrove - When Marty tells Frank Sr. (John Bedford Lloyd) that he's cutting ties with Cosgrove and the Kansas City Mob, you can tell that Cosgrove thinks his decision is rash. When Darlene blasts Frank Jr. in the groin with a shotgun, it seems like a race between Cosgrove and Navarro for who is going to get the Byrde family first. Then Darlene comes in with her deal and Frank Sr. appears to give her the same look that he gave Marty when he jumped ship. It is as if Frank is weighing his options and his next move. Based on this it seems like he is going to take Helen's deal and join the list of people that would be happy to see the Byrde family out of the picture. Whether he makes that move or lets his son (if he is even able) remains to be seen. More than anything Frank has something his son sorely lacks.... restraint. He probably wants revenge on Ruth. At the same time, Darlene offered him a deal worth many millions of dollars to let that plan go. Frank and the Kansas City Mob will no doubt start off Ozark Season 4 in a strong business position. Their reach will all but have the Byrde's casino operations crippled. The cracks are going to emerge when there are defections in Darlene's organization. Once she and Ruth start being on the outs, look for Frank to exploit this, possibly try to avenge his son, and then find himself in the crosshairs of both Darlene, the Navarro Cartel, and the FBI.
Erin Pierce - Anybody expecting Helen's daughter (played by Madison Thompson) to just go away is sorely mistaken. While Erin isn't going to be a major character she was too inquisitive to just go away. As much as Charlotte and Jonah Byrde tried to comfort her, as much as they tried to be there for her, Erin ultimately had to confront her mom. Sadly, it was this confrontation that led to Wendy's brother Ben being killed and that created a whole other set of problems. It seems that Erin might be trying to get away from the world her mother created. Jonah, seeking solace and understanding (and obviously having a major crush) is going to stay in touch with her. A few well placed texts will see them meet up all under the watchful eye of Charlotte. This will cause problems because anybody who knows anything about Ozark knows that no secrets are really secrets. Look for Erin Pierce to be thought of as a loose end by the Navarro Cartel (and probably anybody else her character crossed paths with). This problem will be a further source of strain for Marty and Wendy. This time it seems like one or both of them will stand up for the endangered Erin, and that will no doubt put their family in even more of a perilous situation.
Senator Charles Wilkes - Darren Goldstein plays this character with a cool, almost economical detachment. He's a businessman with political clout and his finger in many deals. It's interesting how he always seems to get played by Wendy Byrde, though. He often starts of their conversations by stating what can't be done. Wendy often shows him an alternative way (legal or not) and suddenly Charles has yet another business venture to think about. The question to ask in Ozark Season 4 is can this continue? Wendy certainly seems to only think of him as a business partner now. Could Marty's focus on the business and Wendy, still reeling from what happened to her brother in Season 3, somehow find herself drawn to Charles? They could have something brief, Wendy could regret it, and Charles might not be able to get back to business as usual. If this happens it could spell trouble for Marty because he'll then have the Navarro Cartel, the Lagunas Cartel, Darlene, Frank Sr., and just about everybody else gunning for him. This isn't to say to that Charles would order any kind of a "hit" against Marty Byrde. Charles is a businessman. He could certainly "gum up the works" enough for Wendy to potentially make her a widow. What if certain people decide they'd rather Charles were running the various business's and not Marty? All of this is conjecture to be sure, however, Charles Wilkes seems to be a character whose slowly and steadily been rising since he was introduced in Season 2.
Rachel Garrison - When we last saw this character in Season 2 she was being "freed" by Marty Byrde. Her destination was a rehab center in Miami. This was the last we have heard from this character. Given how Marty and Wendy Byrde are essentially public enemy number one (at least in the US), one has to think that their enemies are going to be looking for anything in their power to upend them. Though it is unlikely that Darlene or Frank Sr. are going to bring her back, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Agent Evans or Agent Miller. Both of those characters have the resources to at least put out feelers for here whereabouts. They probably wouldn't even bring her back so much as they could have her contact Marty. He would obviously be guarded but Rachel has broken that down before. It stands to reason that if she was in trouble Marty might try and help her. The character of Rachel returning is, admittedly, a long shot. However, it is precisely those long shots that usually seem innocuous and then end up toppling empires. And, unlike deceased brother Ben, Rachel never "died."