'Ozark' Creative Team Has a Five-Season Plan in Mind

Ozark-Publicity Still-Embed 2018
Tina Rowden/Netflix

The Byrdes try to open a casino in season two. 

The creative team behind Ozark hope their gritty drama will buck the recent trend of Netflix shows getting canceled early in their runs.

In fact, the producers of the drug-fueled family saga have a five-season plan in mind for the series, showrunner Chris Mundy said Monday during a panel at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills that was moderated by The Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni. 

"We've always talked about it as five seasons. It could be four, it could be seven ... but that always seemed like a good number to us,” said Mundy, who was joined on the Beverly Hilton panel by star-producer-director Jason Bateman, star Laura Linney and Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of Valence Media and show producer MRC.

The comments come days after Netflix canceled the comedy Santa Clarita Diet, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, after three seasons. Showrunner Victor Fresco previously told THR that he, too, had a five-season run in mind for his show. Santa Clarita Diet became the latest series to be prematurely canceled at Netflix, which also axed critical darling One Day at a Time after three seasons. Of the streamer’s more than 30 scripted live-action shows, only three have gone beyond three seasons, according to THR research

Mundy said that although he doesn't have a set idea for how he wants the series to wrap up, "we're building little things in, if we keep on track for the emotional ending we're guessing we'll have." Added the showrunner, "There's people that are in bigger chairs than mine who make those decisions." 

Ozark, which is set to return for its third season later this year, is about to resume production in Georgia. The new season will pick up with Bateman and Linney's Marty and Wendy Byrde struggling with their power dynamic and "dealing with outside forces," according to Mundy. Seven of the episodes for the new season have been written, with a large shakeup in the arrival of Wendy's brother, "who we've hinted at the first couple years as having some mental illness in the past, so [her] big brother is going to be a very destabilizing factor." Linney and Bateman laughed as Mundy said "destabilizing."

The cast will head to the Atlanta area to shoot season three in the coming weeks, with Bateman expected to direct the first two episodes, as he has done in the past. 

Valence Media, the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, also owns Media Rights Capital, which produces Ozark for Netflix.