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The Breaking Bad Homage You Likely Missed In Ozark

At first glance, it's easy to see the similarities between AMC's "Breaking Bad" and Netflix's "Ozark." Both series follow mild-mannered protagonists who become involved with the brutal underground activities of Mexican drug cartels, and who are forced to adapt to that dangerous way of life throughout the series. For Walter White (Bryan Cranston), this means forgoing his life as a high school chemistry teacher and cooking methamphetamine, eventually transforming into the malicious drug kingpin known as Heisenberg. Marty Byrne (Jason Bateman) of "Ozark," meanwhile, is a former financial advisor who has been hired to launder money for a cartel, and as such, is constantly forced to make questionable decisions to protect his family from the ever-looming threat of cartel execution. 

While it's fair to say that Marty is nowhere near as ruthless or evil as Walter White became in later seasons, it's still remarkable to see the parallels between the two shows. Indeed, there's even a very subtle homage to "Breaking Bad" hidden in the first season of "Ozark," one that many fans may have missed the first time they watched it.

Ozark references Breaking Bad's not-so-subtle money laundering metaphor

As pointed out by Redditor u/Detzeb, the scene in Episode 2 of "Ozark" where Marty is stacking money into a laundry machine seems to be a direct reference to a similar scene in Episode 1 of "Breaking Bad." In the pilot of "Breaking Bad," Walt runs a wad of cash through his washer and dryer after the money becomes soaked in chemicals. Both this scene and the scene in Episode 2 of "Ozark" are shot from within the washing machine, looking out at the protagonist with the money inside.

It's a neat little detail that not only functions as an homage to one of the greatest crime dramas of all time, but also as a direct visual metaphor for the concept of "money laundering" itself. Considering all the parallels between the stories of "Ozark" and "Breaking Bad," it seems natural that the former ought to at least include a few references to the latter — and to do so in a way that also ties into the main subject of "Ozark" itself is even more impressive.