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Every Main Ozark Character Ranked By Likability

The Netflix original series "Ozark" is full of morally questionable characters. In the tradition of shows like "Breaking Bad," "Ozark" tells an expansive, tangled crime story involving drugs, murder, and lots and lots of money — and the show isn't afraid to let its main characters flounder about in the gray area of likability. Many TV shows prioritize the likability of their protagonists to get audiences invested in their journeys and struggles. Other shows, like "Ozark," don't seem to put much stock in likability.

Luckily, series creators Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams know that the most likable characters aren't always the most interesting. From the very first episode, series protagonist Marty Byrde already pushed the boundaries of likable and, as the series progresses, he might even cross that boundary for some viewers. Let's find out where Marty ranks amongst the rest of the show's main characters in terms of likability. We're starting off with the most likable and working our way down to the lowest of the low. In explaining the rationale for each likability ranking, plot details from the first three seasons of "Ozark" will be revealed, so consider this your spoiler warning.

1. Charlotte Byrde

Charlotte Byrde's only real crime is guilt by association with her criminal parents. The worst you can say about Charlotte — played by Sofia Hublitz — is that she can get a little annoying at times in how she acts out against her parents' wishes. Even so, that's more to do with her disagreeable circumstances and general teenage angst rather than anything that is directly her fault.

Her friendship with Wyatt Langmore seemed questionable at first, and even potentially disastrous given that her parents are constantly at odds with the Langmore family. However, as more was revealed about Wyatt, Charlotte was proven to be right to not judge a book by its cover. As the series progresses, Charlotte becomes more and more involved with the money laundering operation run by her parents. In doing so, she makes a few questionable decisions — but it is hard to fault her, given the fact that the looming danger the Byrde family faces is entirely out of her control, and she is doing what she can to keep herself and her little brother Jonah safe.

2. Jonah Byrde

Jonah Byrde, played by Skylar Gaertner, is essentially on the same level of likability as Charlotte, with just a couple of small characteristics that make him the slightest bit less likable. For one, he gets a little creepy when going through puberty as he starts spying on Erin, the daughter of Helen Pierce. It is really at the urging of his uncle, Ben Wade, that Jonah begins to flirt with the line between innocent crush and inappropriate voyeurism. Luckily, he remains more firmly within innocent-crush territory.

Jonah's enthusiasm for helping with the Byrde family's cartel money-laundering activities might hurt his likability for some viewers, but the circumstances that led to this enthusiasm are beyond his control — and he has his family's safety as his top priority rather than financial gain or anything less sincere. Even when Jonah comes close to shooting Helen in Season 3, he believes he's acting in the best interest of his parents. His young age and worldly inexperience soften any of the questionable dealings he finds himself involved in due to his parents' choices.

3. Wyatt Langmore

The somewhat-askew Langmore family tree is populated with characters at all points on the likability spectrum, and Wyatt comes out on top as the most likable of all the main ones. He's the black sheep of family, by virtue of being the only one not content to continue in the generational scumbag lifestyle propagated by the rest of the Langmores.

Wyatt is smart and has a degree of ambition, but was born into unfortunate circumstances and surrounded largely by people who don't want him to reach any higher than themselves. (Ruth is the key exception, who desperately wants Wyatt to achieve his full potential.) His relationship with Darlene Snell is extremely off-putting, and that may or may not affect his likability to some viewers. For the most part, Wyatt seems as though he is being unwittingly taken advantage of by Darlene, which takes some of the burden of the relationship off of him, and makes Darlene's actions even worse.

4. Rachel Garrison

Even though Rachel Garrison — the owner of the Blue Cat Lodge, played by Jordana Spiro — finds herself tied to a great many crimes by the end of season three of "Ozark," she has managed to keep her intentions relatively pure and her heart mostly in the right place. The majority of the questionable acts and outright crimes Rachel has taken part in were either forced upon her or done without her knowledge, only for her to be implicated later on.

Rather than being an out-and-out criminal like many of the other characters on "Ozark," Rachel is more a victim of manipulation. At first, she is unwittingly taken advantage of by Marty. After being arrested, Rachel strikes a bargain with FBI agent Roy Petty to help him take down Marty in exchange for her freedom. This bargain with Petty puts Rachel in even more trouble, and leaves her subject to manipulation now from both Marty and Agent Petty. Rachel remains largely sympathetic and likable throughout the series.

5. Ruth Langmore

Ruth Langmore, played by Julia Garner, is an interesting case of shifting likability. She begins the series as a thoroughly unlikable character, but undergoes quite a drastic redemption arc over the course of the first three seasons. Ruth even manages to navigate the difficult shift from antagonist to protagonist as the series progresses. Her overall transformation is possibly the biggest in the "Ozark," and Ruth winds up being one of the show's most likable protagonists by the third season.

Though it's easy to root for the current Ruth in the later seasons of "Ozark," the character has still done plenty of bad things. Much worse than everything she does to make Marty's life more difficult, Ruth is willing to murder people, even her own family members. Killing Russ Langmore, Wyatt's father, is by far the worst act she has committed. The ramifications of this murder are especially tough to swallow, as it is what turns Wyatt against her — while Ruth genuinely cares for Wyatt. Ruth's desire to keep Wyatt away from a life of crime and help him achieve his full potential goes a long in terms of her likability.

6. Mason Young

Mason Young is the waterfront preacher played by Michael Mosley. Though he was connected in a major way to the Snells' heroin operation, it was done without his knowledge. His waterfront sermons were used as a cover for heroin smuggling, while he simply thought everyone was gathered to hear him preach the gospel. When he learns what his sermons are really being used for, he's horrified, and puts an end to his preaching.

Mason displays a great deal of conviction in his beliefs and refuses to back down from the Snells, even under threats of violence. While this conviction could be considered an admirable trait, it also bleeds into a shortsightedness that can make Mason's actions frustrating to watch. His choices — regardless of where his heart lies — directly lead to his wife's death and to him losing custody of his baby, Zeke. His most blatant crime is kidnapping Wendy and holding her for ransom in a bid to get Zeke back. This is another shortsighted and ill-conceived plan, and one that leads directly to his death.

7. Marty Byrde

The main protagonist of "Ozark," Marty Byrde (played by Jason Bateman) lands right about in the middle of the ranking when it comes to likability. He's a complex, morally-gray character, and that is exactly what makes him such an effective lead. If he were more likable and did fewer detestable things, he would be a less compelling protagonist. On the other hand, if were any less likable, he would run the risk of losing audiences all together. It's a tricky balance, one necessary to keep viewers engaged and invested in Marty's goals and troubles, and "Ozark" nails it.

Marty is guilty of plenty of crimes and other contemptible decisions and actions, but he is also charismatic to a degree and cares greatly for his family — or at least for his children, as his feelings for Wendy fluctuate throughout. His bad actions are almost always done in the best interest of his family. He repeatedly tries, and fails, to get out from the arrangement he has with the cartel to sever ties with them altogether. Marty is often on the back foot, trying to wriggle out of dangerous situations rather than explicitly causing the dangerous situations; an important distinction that saves some of his likability, even when he crosses certain lines.

8. Ben Davis

Ben Davis is Wendy's brother, played by Tom Pelphry. From the moment Ben entered the equation in Season 3 of "Ozark," it was clear he would bring nothing but trouble. Ben proves himself somewhat unlikable in his very first scene, as he uses his position as a teacher to confiscate cellphones and throw them into a wood chipper before getting into a violent altercation with a groundskeeper for no real reason. He does a number of questionable things throughout Season 3 and gets both himself and the rest of the Byrde family into bigger trouble than they were already in.

The saving grace for Ben is that many of his negative actions are out of his control, which retains a great deal of viewer affinity for him. He struggles with mental health issues that make him volatile and unpredictable, especially when he stops taking his medication. His romantic relationship with Ruth, though messy and complicated, also has a core of sweetness that earns him a little extra sympathy — even as things fall apart. The character arc of Ben Wade is more tragic than it is unlikable.

9. Wendy Byrde

Wendy Byrde, played by Laura Linney, is just as guilty as her husband Marty in all of the illegal goings-on. Throughout the series, Wendy makes a handful of choices and commits a few actions that lower her likability below her spouse, the other "Ozark" series lead. One major action that makes her less likable than Marty right off the bat is something she actually started before the events of the series itself: Her affair with Gary "Sugarwood" Silverberg. But cheating on Marty is far from being Wendy's only unlikable act.

As the series progresses, Wendy grows more ruthless and cares more about their criminal dealings over the safety of their family. She routinely makes major decisions behind Marty's back, messing up plans that were already in motion and getting the entire Byrde family into even more trouble. As Marty attempts to make a clean break from the cartel, Wendy knowingly keeps their family tied to the cartel in what is, without a doubt, her most selfish and dangerous decision. Even more egregious, however, is her decision to help the cartel kill her own brother in Season 3. It wasn't an easy decision for her, and she was pressured from all sides, but it is still a major line to cross that makes her considerably less likable than the rest of her family members. Wendy is also the least likable character who isn't an outright antagonist on the series.

10. Helen Pierce

Helen Pierce, played by Janet McTeer, is the main lawyer working for the Navarro cartel. As one of the main antagonists of the series, the writers make little to no attempt to make Helen likable. She is cold, calculating, and will stop at nothing to ensure the will of the cartel is followed. She works closely with both the cartel and the Byrde family, acting frequently as the go-between for the two aligned but at-odds parties.

Her daughter, Erin, helps to humanize Helen to a degree, but Helen even seems to possibly care more for the will of the cartel than for her own daughter. Her cold disposition certainly doesn't do her any favors in terms of being likable, but it does end up helping her avoid being quite as contemptible as the lower ranking characters on this list. Everything is dispassionate and professional with Helen. Nothing is personal, and that winds up being Helen's saving grace that keeps her above the other "Ozark" antagonists.

11. Cade Langmore

The main patriarch of the largely-antagonistic Langmore family is Cade Langmore, played by Trevor Long. He is by far the most despicable of the entire Langmore clan and displays no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Cade is greedy, selfish, and uncaring for even his own family when push comes to shove. He chooses personal gain over the other Langmores and routinely treats the others, and Ruth especially, like garbage. He is a man who cares only about one person: Himself.

Cade spends much of the early stages of "Ozark" locked away in jail. Even though he's incarcerated, his presence still looms above the other Langmores like a storm cloud. His role becomes more direct in Season 2 after he is released from prison. After overplaying his hand, Cade gets set up by Wendy and is killed at the hands of the cartel during the Season 2 finale. His death scene comes as a welcome development after being such a scumbag throughout the entirety of "Ozark."

12. Jacob Snell

Jacob Snell, played by Peter Mullan, is one of the main antagonists in "Ozark." Working alongside his wife Darlene, the two of them run the heroin operation for the entire Ozark region. Growing and distributing such a large quantity of heroin means that the Snells essentially run a mob as well, in order to keep their supply line safe, take out the competition, and ensure the Snells always get what they want — whether it be through intimidation or outright violence.

The one saving grace that Jacob has is that he possesses just the slightest bit of southern charm and hospitality, traits that he can occasionally use to his benefit. Unlike certain people, his own wife included, Jacob doesn't always resort to violence as the first solution. He is far more rational and stable than Darlene, and can almost seem downright tolerant when compared them. While certainly detestable and one of the main purveyors of crime and violence in the Ozark region, Jacob retains a shred more likability than the remainder of the characters on this list.

13. Roy Petty

Roy Petty, played by Jason Butler Harner, is the disturbed FBI agent intent on catching Marty Byrde. An FBI agent endeavoring to take down a cartel's money-laundering scheme could make for an admirable character, yet Agent Petty is anything but. Petty's methods, combined with his twisted demeanor and personality, culminate in one seriously messed up and unhinged person. He might be on the right side of the law, but he is unquestionably on the wrong side of ethics and morality.

Petty's obsession with catching Marty finds him stooping lower and crossing more lines throughout the first two seasons of "Ozark." He threatens, manipulates, and uses several characters in his attempts to catch Marty. Petty even manipulates Russ Langmore into a sexual relationship purely for the purposes of control and to furthering his scheme to catch Marty. This act of manipulation causes untold psychological damage to Russ in the process. Another aspect of Petty's personality that makes him so thoroughly unlikable is his horrible treatment of his fellow FBI agent Trevor Evans, who Petty was also in a romantic relationship with before disposing of him callously.

14. Omar Navarro

Sliding even lower on the morality spectrum is Omar Navarro, played by Felix Solis. Omar is the head of the Navarro cartel, the main force of danger looming over the Byrde family. Beyond the threat they pose to the main characters of "Ozark," the cartel is also responsible for scores of ruined lives that are not directly depicted within the series. The Navarro cartel runs pretty much everything in the series — except for the dug-in Snells, who defy the cartel to their own detriment and at great personal risk.

Omar himself is suitable boss for the cartel, one who employs violence at the drop of a hat and is ruthless to no end. He is felt more as a looming, background threat in the first two seasons before becoming a more present, primary antagonist in season three. He has the tiniest shred of charisma that he uses to his benefit, and his friendly relationships with Wendy and his family go some way toward humanizing him. Similar to Helen, Omar tends to keep matters professional, a virtue that the lowest ranking character on this list cannot claim to possess.

15. Darlene Snell

Darlene Snell, played by Lisa Emery, is thoroughly unlikable at every turn. Managing to be less likable the a ruthless cartel boss is quite a feat in its own right. Though her husband, Jacob, is quite unlikable in his own right, Darlene is far worse. Her actions are often rash — like killing Del, the cartel envoy — and seem to be made by a mind that is not quite sound.

Practically every decision Darlene makes and every action she takes is contemptible to one degree or another. Some of her worst offenses include killing her own loving husband and stealing Mason's baby, Zeke, to raise as her own. There's also her disturbing sexual relationship with Wyatt. Though it might be arguable how willing Wyatt is to engage in their relationship, it seems as though Darlene may be manipulating the young man and taking advantage of him — at a particularly vulnerable point in his life, no less, while he's still reeling from learning the truth about his father's death at the hands of Ruth. In a show loaded with unsavory characters, Darlene is the lowest of the low.