"Ozark" Showrunner Reveals Exactly What Happened in Netflix Show's Ambiguous Ending
Producer Chris Mundy was surprised that some viewers found the final shot confusing.
Spoilers for Ozark ahead. When Ozark ended after four seasons in April 2022, some viewers were left confused by the final scene. But, according to showrunner Chris Mundy, the ending of Ozark isn't as ambiguous as it might seem. In fact, at a Netflix panel about the show on Friday, Feb. 17, Mundy said that he was surprised that fans were unsure what after the finale cut to black and offered clarification of what really happened in the last moments of the crime drama.
Ozark, which premiered in 2017, is about a couple, Marty and Wendy Byrde (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney), who move from Chicago to the Ozarks of Missouri and become money launderers entangled with a drug cartel and local criminals. After four seasons, the show concluded with a final episode that featured two surprising character deaths, including one that happened in the final moments. Read on to see what Mundy had to say about the finale.
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The final scene includes a murder.
Two characters meet their ends in the finale of Ozark. Julia Garner's character Ruth Langmore dies earlier in the episode, while the final scene shows Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner), Marty and Wendy's teenage son, pointing a gun at Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg). A gunshot rings out with the camera on Marty, then the series cuts to black.
As reported by Variety, at the panel, Mundy said that the story of the Byrdes "would have been false if there weren't consequences." But the lack of a scene clearly showing Jonah shooting Mel made fans wonder whether the bullet was actually headed for someone or something else.
Some fans were unsure who—or what—was shot.
Some viewers speculated whether Jonah had actually killed his parents, who were also in the scene, or if he shot the infamous goat cookie jar holding evidence against the family.
At the panel, Mundy confirmed that Jonah did shoot Mel.
"Definitively in my mind, and anyone's free to think whatever they want, but in my mind, he absolutely shot Mel and Mel is dead. And that's that," the producer and writer said. "I just didn't want to see it. It was over. If you shot him then you're in the blood and the guts… but the show was over. He did it."
Star and director Bateman pointed out even though the Byrdes "get away with" what they've done, the two deaths are the consequences, especially because now they have to confront the fact that "their son has become a murderer."
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Bateman has his own theory about the cookie jar.
In June 2022, on another panel, Mundy and Bateman addressed fan theories about the finale, while offering their own takes on what else happened after the credits began to role.
"I think he shot Mel, and Mel is dead," Mundy said, according to IndieWire. "And I think they went to their crematorium, just off screen."
Bateman added that the cookie jar was probably a casualty, too, "[The gun] was probably a buckshot too, so the cookie jar went down as well. There's a lot of spray on that," he said.
Mundy also opened up about Ruth's death.
Fan favorite character Ruth was also killed in the episode, which Mundy said caused him turmoil when he was deciding her fate. At the Feb. 17 panel, he said that he "didn't sleep for a week or two" and "would wake up at four in the morning" thinking about it.
But, he concluded, killing Ruth was the best option.
"Ruth was almost a stronger character in death than she would have been if she was off living somewhere," Mundy said. "That was our hope for the show. As everyone's favorite character—Jason's favorite character, my favorite character—you just wanted to do it justice."