Stories of ordinary citizens getting involved in drug trafficking have been told repeatedly on both the small and the big screen, but Ozark takes a different turn by making money rather than drugs. Money breeds power, and as a result, several predominant forces have emerged in the series, from the Ozarks to Missouri to Mexico.
Some characters have a lot more power than others. The influence of these characters can also be broken down into social power, financial power, and political power. The lucky few are endowed with all three types of power, and since the majority of them are not law-abiding citizens, they are more than happy to use their power to continue breaking the laws.
ten Charles Wilkes
The Kansas City mogul is a powerful player who made his fortune selling farm equipment. The Byrdes seek him out as they try to get approval to build a casino.
Wilke’s financial might is unmatched, even for the other wealthiest characters in Ozark. He has enough cash on hand to make large donations to GOP candidates in every election without smelling bankruptcy. His wealth has allowed him to become a respected figure in the political world since each candidate to whom he donates becomes his toy. Anyone looking to do business in Kansas must also have their blessing, otherwise their entrepreneurial ambitions remain a fantasy.
9 Helene pierce
On paper, the Chicago-based lawyer is the official lawyer for the Navarro card, but in reality, she’s more of a consigliere. When presented, she is sent to the Ozarks of Missouri to make sure the Byrdes don’t renege on their promise to launder money for the cartel.
Helen’s role on the show is essentially that of a supervisor, and she’s leading the Byrdes with every chance she has. She has direct contact with Omar Navarro, while Marty and Wendy can only speak to her when he chooses to call them. Helen’s high rank means that she is also allowed to use Cartel Executors for personal reasons. An example of this is when Ben makes one of the worst character mistakes in Ozark telling Helen’s daughter that her mother is a criminal. Angry, Helen quickly sends a cartel hitman to kill Ben.
The Navarro Cartel lieutenant makes a deal with Marty to launder money in the Missouri Ozarks in the pilot episode. For him, any offense carries the death penalty, and it is for this reason that he murders Marty’s business associates in Chicago.
Del’s authority is a true measure of his power. While not the boss, Del can make key decisions by being the man at the top. He can make deals on behalf of the cartel and assassinate anyone without asking for his approval. That’s why he accepts Marty’s offer to try Missouri where there are few FBI boots on the ground. He also makes a casino deal with the Snells, although insulting them costs him his life.
7 Franck Cosgrove
To the public, Frank owns a trucking business, but behind closed doors he’s the Kansas City Mafia boss. This is Buddy, one of the nicest characters in Ozark, which introduces Frank to the Byrdes since casinos and crowds go hand in hand.
As has been a tradition in the American Mafia, Frank controls the unions in his criminal jurisdiction. He’s got eyes and ears all over the place, and when Marty tries to get past his back, his desk explodes. Frank has also instilled so much terror in Kansas that no one is willing to cross paths with someone related to him. His son, Frank Cosgrove Jr., has a habit of offending everyone, but no one is going to do anything about it because they fear being punished by the big bad Mafia.
6 Sheriff Nix
The sheriff knows pretty much all of the Missouri Ozark criminals. He intimidates all the petty offenders and locks them up, but keeps the big league players as associates.
As sheriff, Nix controls just about every major institution in the area. When Darlene asks her to get Ben out of the mental institution, he is able to do so very quickly. He also closed a factory when the owners refused to work with the Snells. Another interesting detail that emerges is that Nix’s assistants normally do all the dirty work for him while he collects the revenue. This illustrates the control he has within the police.
5 Omar Navarro
He is the head of the most powerful cartel in Mexico. Unfortunately, his position made him a target for both law enforcement and rival cartels in his homeland.
Omar is constantly being hunted down, but that’s not a problem for him as he has a larger army of people working for him. From dirty cops to sicarios to politicians, he covers all areas. As a cartel leader, financial power came organically to him as well. Whenever someone comes to visit him, he has to organize a private jet for them.
4 Darlene Snell
Darlene and her husband Jacob are the main dealers of the Ozarks before the Navarro Cartel appears, courtesy of Marty and Wendy. Darlene remains skeptical of their treatment and even continues to murder her husband.
Throughout the series, Darlene is shown to have control over a lot of people. She has Bobby, the owner of the Blue Cat Lodge, laundering his money and the sheriff’s deputies on his payroll. She is also extremely wealthy, as evidenced by her many poppy fields and the high volume of drugs she carries during Pastor Mason Young’s church services.
3 The Byrdes
Wendy and Marty Byrde are ordinary working-class citizens at the start of the series, but their relationship with the Navarro Cartel changes their lives. While laundering money, their influence continues to grow.
Byrdes’ association with just about every high-ranking character in the series boosts their social, financial, and political power. The two have the ability to chat with both criminals and law enforcement, allowing them to maneuver both sides of the law to their advantage. For the cartel, they have become too important for anyone who tries to stop or kill them to be dealt with quickly. It becomes clear when Hellen is brutally murdered for attempting to take over the casino’s operations.
2 Agent Maya Miller
The office sends Maya Miller to investigate Marty after no other FBI agent can find anything concrete. She takes a calmer approach, befriending Marty before offering him a deal.
Unlike the agents that came before her, Maya’s job description covers a broader area. In addition to being a field agent, she is also part of the forensic accounting team. Thanks to his higher pay level, his hands are rarely tied. She also has access to more classified information, as she is able to know most of the stuff about Omar Navarro and the Mexican Cartel Wars, but those details are reserved for DEA agents.
1 Ruth langmore
Ruth is the best Ozark quotes are part of why she’s considered the best character on the show. The other reason is her tenacity and general spirit, which she shows every time.
Although she was born into poverty, Ruth’s working relationship with Marty elevates her status. A pattern can be observed in Marty’s diagrams in that they only succeed when he is on good terms with Ruth and fail when he is not. She does most of the work for him and is considered a great manager when in charge of the Lickety Splitz and the casino. Ruth’s managerial position in the casino makes her one of the most respected characters in the Ozarks, capable of even commanding high-ranking criminals.
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