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The Entire Ozark Timeline Explained

Gritty crime thriller Ozark marches fans to the edge, grips them firmly by the nape of the neck, and forces them to stare into the darkness below. The story of the money laundering Byrde family maintains a constantly simmering tension: All the players involved must remain scrupulously calm and poised, because losing one's cool means death. But no one can keep everything under wraps for long in the Ozarks, where dirty deeds never stay hidden for long.

This razor's-edge approach to storytelling makes for an incredible show. But Ozark's many twists and turns are tough to keep straight: Three seasons in, it's an intricate web of decisions, betrayals, and consequences. We're here to lay the show's story out for you, one crime at a time, in an effort to further fan appreciation of this complex tale. Spoilers are abundant from here on out as we explain the entire Ozark timeline, so be warned.

Money is the measure of a man's choices

Back in 2007, Marty Byrde begins his career as a financial advisor, alongside his friend Bruce. The duo are approached by a member of the Navarro drug cartel named Del, who needs a money launderer. Marty initially refuses to work with him — but his wife Wendy, struggling to rejoin the workforce after giving birth to their second child, wants in. Marty agrees to the arrangement. Del kills his previous accountant in front of them, claiming that he had been skimming profits as well as snitching to an FBI agent named Roy Petty.

10 years later, Marty's life is disrupted when an unhappy Wendy embarks on an affair. Del confronts Marty and Bruce about Bruce skimming profits from the cartel. Del has Bruce and all others involved killed. Desperate to save himself and his family, Marty offers to move to the Ozarks, where he will launder an obscene amount of money for the cartel over the next five years. Del agrees and gives him several days to recoup the money his associates stole and complete his move. Wendy's lover, Gary, convinces her that she needs to grab what money she can and leave Marty. Before she can, however, the cartel has Gary killed. Their message is clear: Wendy needs to stick with her family, or else.

Ozark bound

The Byrdes sell their Chicago home and move to the Ozarks. The Langmores, a local family, sneak into their hotel room and steal a portion of the $8 million the drug cartel gave them to launder. Marty confronts the Langmores in an abandoned outhouse and lays out the whole situation for them — particularly the consequences. The interaction leads to the hiring of Ruth Langmore for various dirty deeds. Marty intends to use Lickety Splitz, a local strip club, as a money laundering front. He pays Ruth to break into a safe at the club and steal the deed to the establishment. Ruth gets herself hired by the club.

After the bodies of Marty's former associates are discovered, FBI agent Roy Petty arrives in the Ozarks. Wendy leads an exhausting search for a family home with a bumbling real estate agent named Sam. Eventually, they find a beautiful lakefront house to rent. However, the reason they can afford it is because it comes with an interesting stipulation: The owner, Buddy, wishes to remain in the house. His intention is to live in the basement for another year while he dies from heart disease. Wendy agrees to the unusual arrangement.

Happenings at the Lickety Splitz

Bobby, the previous owner of Lickety Splitz, is revealed to be part of a separate money laundering operation for Jacob and Darlene Snell, a drug-dealing couple who specialize in heroin. For his failure, Darlene injects Bobby with a lethal dose of heroin, giving the corrupt police chief reason to sweep the death under the rug. Jacob informs Marty of the arrangement he had with Bobby, and attempts to convince him to take up Bobby's old job. Marty refuses and tensions begin to rise.

Roy hires Ruth's uncle, Russ, as a fishing guide. The relationship turns intimate and Roy uses the situation to gain leverage. Marty continues his hunt for businesses to launder money through. He meets Mason, a pastor who delivers his sermons on the water. Looking to funnel cash through a construction project, Marty offers Mason funding to build a church. The Snells inform him that they use those lake sermons to distribute their product and that he needs to back off, or else they might hurt Mason's pregnant wife, Grace.

Deeper waters

Mason is informed of the Snells' and Marty's illegal intentions. He has a crisis of conscience in which he burns down the framework for the new church and stops delivering his sermons on the water. This brings the Snells' drug operations to a complete halt. In order to keep the Snells from killing him, Marty gives them $700,000 of the cartel's money.

Mason refuses to return to preaching, despite pressure from the Snells, who decide to take revenge. Mason arrives home one day to find a newborn baby on his porch and his wife nowhere to be found. In order to recoup the $700,000 of cartel money they lost, Wendy convinces Sam to transfer his mother's $900,000 portfolio into the Byrdes' accounts. They use the money to launder the rest of the cartel's cash just before the deadline. This brings no relief, however: The cartel quickly delivers another $50 million in cash that Marty must find a way to launder.

All the pieces come into play

Sam's mother dies and he requests access to her funds in order to pay for funeral expenses. The Byrdes end up buying the funeral home. Ruth finds out that her uncle plans to kill Marty, and subsequently kills her uncle. The death is ruled an accidental electrocution, which doesn't sit well with Russ' son, Wyatt.

Marty arranges new identities for his family so they can skip town. They are stopped by a cartel member named Garcia, but the family is able to escape when Buddy holds the man at gunpoint and ultimately kills him. Drawn by these events, Del travels to the Ozarks, and tortures Marty for information on what happened to Garcia.

Frantically, Marty pieces together a plan. He proposes a casino, built on the Snells' land: The cartel will distribute the Snells' heroin, and both operations could have their money laundered by Marty. The Snells and Del agree to these terms. As they part ways, Del refers to his new partners as "rednecks." A hotheaded Darlene Snell pulls out a shotgun and fires directly into Del's face.

Same villain, different voice

The cartel's attorney, an imposing woman named Helen Pierce, arrives in the Ozarks. Helen informs the involved parties that reparations for Del's death are needed. To protect his wife, Jacob kills Ash, their right-hand man. This placates the cartel, but Darlene is enraged by the decision. To her, the obedient Ash was like the son she never had.

As legislation for the casino slowly moves forward, another chess piece comes into play: Ruth's father, Cade, is released from prison. The man had already been pulling strings from his cell, and now he wants all of Marty's money. Ruth tries to convince him that there is a way to make money from the Byrdes that isn't so reckless. When they stop at a convenience store, Cade robs the place. He climbs back into the car with his loot, looks at his daughter, and tells her that she will help him steal Marty's money.

Grease on the fire

The Kansas City mafia rattles the cages of local senators, weakening their support for the casino. As it turns out, Buddy has a past with the mob's leader, Frank Cosgrove. This connection allows Marty to meet with Frank and find common ground. They agree to unionize with their distribution center,  allowing the casino bill to move forward.

In the meantime, trouble brews at The Blue Cat, a diner Marty owns but leaves the operating of to Rachel, the previous owner. Having discovered Marty's money laundering, she steals a chunk of cartel money, goes on a bender, and wrecks her car. Roy capitalizes on the situation and turns her into an informant by feeding her drugs and marching her right back to The Blue Cat.

Wyatt is not convinced his father's death was an accident. He continues to dig for the truth while Cade uses it as leverage over Ruth. Ready to burst from tension, Ruth confides in Rachel, who reports what she knows back to Roy. The information allows Roy to get warrants to search the properties of everyone involved.

A slippery slope

Roy arranges a meeting with Ruth, in which he threatens to feed her to the cartel unless she becomes his informant. After learning of the meeting, Helen has Ruth brutally interrogated, in order to test her loyalty. After a lengthy waterboarding session, she passes.

Roy begins searching Byrde's businesses for dirt, and sets his sights on the Snell's property. In order to avoid FBI detection, Helen orders them to burn their poppy fields. They refuse. The revelation of a drug operation on the land would ruin everything, so the Byrdes decide to act. Wendy uses Darlene's desire for children as a distraction; she offers to meet and discuss how to help them adopt a child. Meanwhile, Buddy sneaks onto the property and burns their poppy fields. The act of vandalism appears to rejuvenate the frail, dying man but on their drive home, he passes away in the passenger seat next to Wendy.

The Byrdes' house of cards topples

Marty finds out that Rachel is working with Roy as an informant, and uses her to feed the FBI false information. The FBI doesn't find any evidence of a drug operation on the Snells' property, but they do discover human remains in the ashes of the burnt field. This discovery gives Mason hope, which he sorely needs: He has been reduced to preaching on the street, which results in the state taking away custody of his son, Zeke. Desperate, Mason kidnaps Wendy, demanding the return of his son.

Marty uses his political connections to get Zeke out of state custody and takes him to Mason. Things go awry, however, and Marty ends up killing Mason. Marty and Wendy cremate Mason's body and keep the baby. A story is established, painting a grief-stricken Mason as having abandoned his child. Once Roy gets everything he needs from Rachel, he cuts off her supply of drugs. She buys her own off the street, and ends up overdosing.

The Snells retaliate

Still angry about the burning of their poppy fields, Darlene Snell retaliates against the cartel by spiking their heroin with Fentanyl. The cartel responds with an attack on the Snells that injures Jacob. He displays an awareness that his wife's temper is disrupting every facet of their operation. He moves to repair his relationships with both the cartel and Marty.

The FBI is closing in, and Marty moves against Roy. A gathering of information reveals that Roy's mother is a drug addict, and a cartel member is sent to supply her with drugs. This relapse results in Roy abandoning his work to go home and take care of his mother. The Byrde family unit is disrupted when their daughter Charlotte hires a lawyer to have herself emancipated. Jacob Snell is informed that all legal avenues to take his land are available to the Byrdes. They give him the opportunity to back off and allow operations to move along. Jacob knows that Darlene is too volatile and would have no part in any of this. On a morning walk through the woods he slowly works up the courage to kill his wife. Just as he walks up to stab her, however, he collapses in her arms. Darlene had already poisoned his coffee. The Snell patriarch dies in her arms while she whispers her love to him.

You can't keep everyone happy

Marty attends a gathering of the gaming commission. A stipulation is made to deny any union presence once the casino is operational. Marty agrees to the arrangement, despite it going against the deal he made with the Kansas City mafia. The casino's construction is moved through the appropriate legal channels. Darlene uses intimidation to get baby Zeke from the Byrdes and claim him as her own.

Roy returns to the Ozarks and is confronted by Cade, who is desperate to become an informant to avoid going back to prison. Their interaction ends with Cade murdering Roy with a bait box and sinking his body in the river. Frantic, he returns home and attempts to blackmail Ruth for money to skip town. Instead of folding, Ruth walks up to Wyatt and tells him she killed his father. Wendy realizes that Cade needs to be removed from the equation and has a cartel member kill him. Frank Cosgrove lets Marty know that the mafia is displeased with him by bombing his office.

The family unit is repaired

The casino opens, and day-to-day operations begin. Charlotte decides to remain with her family, but convinces her parents to go to couples therapy. Marty pays the therapist to take his side. Embroiled in an intense war with another cartel, Navarro himself reaches out to Wendy. She lays out a plan to move his money into legitimate channels, ensuring his family's future. Marty sees the move as too big of a risk and pushes back.

After learning the truth of his father's death, Wyatt leaves his family home and is eventually arrested for squatting in people's houses. Darlene bails him out and offers him work. Just as the Byrde family dynamic is beginning to settle, Wendy's brother Ben arrives after being fired from his job as a substitute teacher. Frank Cosgrove's son mills around the casino as a mafia presence and is disrespectful of Ruth's authority. In response to his intimidation, Ruth throws him off the second story of a riverboat.

Where to go from here

Wendy and Marty disagree on what direction to take their business: Wendy wants to expand while Marty wants to be more cautious. Purchasing another local casino turns into the Byrdes playing mind games with the couple who owns it. Marty believes taking on another casino is an unnecessary risk and talks the husband into declining the deal. Wendy's ambition aligns with Navarro's: She wants to expand, and steers the wife toward selling the casino. In the meantime, Wyatt and Darlene become uncomfortably close.

Alerted by income discrepancies, the FBI begins auditing the Byrdes' businesses. Leading the audit is FBI agent Maya Miller, who offers Marty a way out with little jail time. Marty is then kidnapped and taken to Mexico, where he is tortured for days. Navarro is testing the entire crew to see if they could continue operating without Marty — as well as attempting to divine the truth of Marty's character. The drug cartel war spills into the Ozark area and Frank Jr.'s men are killed. He believes it is Ruth's fault and assaults her outside the casino so badly that she is hospitalized.

Hard choices must be made

Marty convinces Navarro that he can turn Maya Miller and help him regain control of a frozen account — and, moreover, that he is essential to the entire Ozarks operation. Meanwhile, Ben's bipolar disorder begins to disrupt everything when he goes off his medication. He explodes after learning about the family's involvement with the cartel. Helen makes it clear he is to be kept under control, under pain of cartel retaliation. Helen's daughter is also visiting her in the Ozarks, and Helen makes it clear that no one is to inform her of the truth.

After an argument in therapy reveals their cartel involvement to their therapist, Wendy and Marty are blackmailed out of a large sum of money. The therapist, however, is foolish, spending the sum so lavishly that she draws attention. Helen notices and deals with it in her own way: The therapist vanishes.

Completely in it now

An outburst at a charity event forces the Byrdes to have Ben committed to a mental hospital. Marty decides not to retaliate against the mafia for Ruth's savage beating — in response, Darlene drives Ruth to mafia territory, where she shoots Frank Jr. in the groin. She then uses her connections to get Ben released. He drives straight to Helen's house and tells her daughter the truth about everything. Darlene then brings Frank Sr. in on her own operation. Ruth joins her cousin Wyatt at the Snell farm, seemingly poised to take over drug operations together.

Helen is enraged and moves to cut the Byrdes out, as well as assassinate Ben. Wendy tries to get Ben to safety, but he refuses to listen. Desperate, Wendy leaves him at a restaurant and informs the cartel of his location. The sacrifice does not go unnoticed: Navarro brings both Wendy and Marty down to Mexico, and shoots Helen upon their arrival. The stunned Byrdes don't even get a chance to wipe away the blood before the drug lord pulls them in for a big hug, celebrating what he sees as the beginning of a wonderful new phase in their collaboration.