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Why Ben Should Still Be Alive According To Ozark Fans

Caution: Spoilers for Ozark season 3 ahead.

The emotional climax of Ozark's third season is the death — albeit off-screen — of Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey). When first introduced, he had been working as a substitute teacher, but lost his job after throwing his students' phones into a wood chipper and fighting with a groundskeeper at the school. So, he traveled to the Ozarks to stay with his sister, Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) and her husband Marty (Jason Bateman). What he didn't know until he got there was that the birds were laundering money for the Navarro drug cartel. 

Over the course of the season, he learns more and more about what's going on, and his combination of forthright honesty, and serious mental illness, makes him incapable of keeping the kind of secrets that have to be kept in such a business. When he finally proves too much of a liability, the Byrdes realize they can't keep him safe, and the cartel kills him, largely due to his own sister stabbing him in the back. 

However, one counter-intuitive thing could have kept him alive, and it's actually kind of weird that it didn't.

Agent Miller must have known

Over on Reddit, a user named _BlazeItGrandma (via Express) has pointed out that due to the phone-destroying incident, Ben already had an outstanding warrant on him by the time he arrives at the Byrde household. Furthermore, when he is at the Byrde family's riverboat casino, Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes) an FBI agent investigating the money laundering, comes over and talks to him. She already knows who he is, and he immediately guesses that she's an officer of the law. 

So, the question is, why doesn't she act on his outstanding warrant? As a forensic accountant for the FBI, she might not care to arrest him for destroying cell phones, but she could certainly report his location to those who would. And if he'd been arrested at that point in the season, he probably would not have ended up dead.

So why didn't it go that way? It's possible that Miller believed he was part of the Byrdes' criminal operation, and figured it was in her best interest to let him stay out of jail and in the casino, where she could keep an eye on him, hoping he'd lead her to evidence against his sister and her husband. We don't know for sure, because his warrant is never addressed again. It seems cell phone destruction and gardener assault is small potatoes in the face of drug smuggling and money laundering.