The Real-Life Person Ozark Fans Think Might Have Inspired Marty

Throughout all four seasons of Netflix's esteemed crime series "Ozark," fans routinely reveled in the often tense situations Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) involves himself and his family in. Marty, the Byrde's patriarchal figure, virtually makes a business out of keeping cool under pressure, something that is surely crucial when dealing with ruthless drug cartel bosses. 

In the first season, Marty starts out as a struggling financial advisor living with his family in Chicago, but a hiccup in his money-laundering operations for the Navarro cartel forces the Byrdes to move to the Missouri Ozarks. The move is prompted after the cartel leader discovers that Marty's partner-in-crime is "skimming" (a type of white-collar crime consisting of off-book cash fraud, via Plains Capital Bank) money from their laundering business. The $8 million that was skimmed must be repaid by the Byrdes in order to keep good standing with the cartel. 

In Season 2, Marty begins funneling money into a casino, a business that offers him the opportunity to launder vast sums of dirty drug money. However, the casino is only one part of an enormously convoluted criminal enterprise. Other pieces of the family business include a strip club called Lickety Splitz, an inn called the Blue Cat Lodge, and a funeral home. According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, money laundering is a process by which criminals take money earned in the process of crimes and convert it into essentially untraceable cash.

Using this operation, Marty continues to scheme his way up the proverbial money ladder. Not only is Marty complicit in major money laundering crimes, but he is also guilty of illegal cartel drug trading (whew, talk about dirty money). As far-fetched and wild as this all sounds, Reddit fans believe they may have discovered a real person who inspired Marty.

Marty Byrde is a one-of-a-kind criminal

In a post to the r/Ozark subreddit, one Redditor suggested that a convicted American criminal named Scott Tucker could be the real-life inspiration behind Marty Byrde. "I couldn't help but notice that Marty Byrde looks a bit like Tucker," u/roberb7 wrote. "Not only that, his way of speaking is similar, and he comes across as a straightforward person when, in fact, he's a slime." So, who is Scott Tucker? 

A loan shark, racketeer, and race car driver, Tucker was the mischievous mastermind behind a billion-dollar loan scheme. According to, payday lending is when an individual or a business provides an expensive, short-term loan that is usually due by the loanee's next payday. The business is heavily regulated by state and federal governments (via National Conference of State Legislatures). Tucker's internet payday lending operation, which utilized illegally elevated interest rates, ran afoul of these laws for more than a decade. He subsequently received a 16-year prison sentence for his crimes (via United States Department of Justice).

Because of the skills of the criminals and the massive amount of money involved in both operations, it's certainly understandable that fans could see a resemblance. Like Tucker, if Marty were ever arrested, he would undoubtedly have been charged with breaking many federal and state laws, leading to a hefty prison sentence. However, the biggest divergence between the two is that they ultimately committed very different crimes. 

In fact, beyond the show's 2017 premiere date (only a year after Tucker's indictment), there are not any actual indications that the creators of "Ozark" were influenced by Tucker's crimes. Redditor u/eastcoastskier_ commented, "Payday lending was completely different from what Marty did so there [aren't] really similarities in that sense, I don't know about their personalities." While we'll leave that final estimation up for readers to decide, Tucker certainly appears to be similarly adept at financial operations (via Prison Professors Podcast).