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The Ozark Sheriff Plot Hole That Bothers Fans

Spoilers for Ozark season 1 appear below.

The Netflix crime drama Ozark is known for its verisimilitude. The show's commitment to nailing the details of Marty Byrde's (Jason Bateman) money laundering led it to bring an FBI agent specializing in financial crimes into its writers' room to make sure the methods depicted were accurate.

But every sprawling tale of intersecting criminal enterprises is going to have a few weak links, and some OzarkĀ fans think they spotted one in local heroin dealers Jacob (Peter Mullen) and Darlene (Lisa Emery) Snell's first-season scheme to move their product during Pastor Mason Young's (Michael Mosley) boat-based services on the Lake of the Ozarks. Why, some viewers wondered, did the Snells have to do their deals on the water when it already appeared as though they had the sheriff in their pocket? Couldn't they operate with impunity on the shore, rather than threaten Mason and Marty when they work to move Young's congregation off the water and into a church (which, full disclosure, Marty wants so he can launder more money through it)?

What's wrong with the Snells' scheme on Ozark?

Not exactly, says one Redditor, who argues that the Snells' hold over the sheriff is exactly why they have to operate on the water. "The reason the deals had to be made on the water and not the land was not because the sheriff would catch them. It was because all the other law enforcement in the area would. They even said there's a highway patrol, park rangers, and local police in the towns that will make dealing on the land a problem ... But on the water all they have to worry about is the sheriff's lake patrol. None of those other agencies are on the lake."

While this may make sense in the world of the show, someone else points out that this explanation doesn't work in the real world. "I had never made this connection before, but it actually is a plot hole because the water patrol is a branch of the highway patrol," writes u/KJC2022, who claims to be a former Lake of the Ozarks resident. "It's not run by the local sheriff." That's accurate. According to the Water Patrol division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol'sĀ website, you can turn to it for all your law enforcement needs when out on the lake itself.

Of course, the threat of discovery from any of those other law enforcement agencies on dry land doesn't curb the Snells' ruthlessness when it comes to protecting their business, as Mason finds out when they have his pregnant wife killed. When the stakes are this high, and everyone is so compromised, it's probably best not to rely on the help of the authorities, no matter whose jurisdiction it is.