Has there been any show (the superhero genre excluded) in television history that has featured as many villains as Ozark? There’s the Langmores (note, more than one of them), Roy Petty and the rest of the FBI gang, Darlene and Jacob Snell, and, hell, let’s throw in Marty and Wendy, because they’re each other’s enemies for most of Ozark anyway.
Don’t forget: There’s the Navarro cartel, too—which is basically the reason we have Ozark in the first place. We learn of the criminal organization in Ozark’s pilot, when Marty Byrde and his partner, Bruce, meet Del Rio, a top-ranking member of the cartel. Rio needs help laundering the group’s drug money—Byrde and Bruce are happy to handle their numbers—fast-forward, and Rio kills Bruce for stealing money from him. And there you go—Marty starts laundering money in the Ozarks to pay Navarro back.
Though, we never met the El Chapo equivalent for the Navarro cartel—at least, until Season Three, which is now streaming on Netflix. Right away, we’re introduced to Omar Navarro (referred to throughout Ozark as “The Client) in the first episode.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Navarro boss—and what it means for the future of Ozark.
Who is “The Client,” Omar Navarro?
In the first two seasons of Ozark, we only knew Navarro through his associates. In Season One, it was Del Rio, who, that’s right—Darlene Snell killed with a shotgun. For Season Two, Ozark brought in Helen Pierce, the Navarro cartel’s takes-no-shit attorney, who constantly refers to Omar Navarro as “The Client.” Both Rio and Pierce painted Navarro as impulsive, willing to murder over the smallest offense, and borderline insatiable, constantly wanting more out of the Byrdes.
When Season Three opens, the Navarro cartel is in the middle of an all-out war in Mexico, with a rival organization gunning down its men. According to Pierce, Omar Navarro is worried about the future of the organization, and is, for once, willing to hear out someone like Wendy Byrde on a new business opportunity—and that’s when the curtain is drawn back on “The Client.”
What does his introduction mean for the future of Ozark?
First of all, we figured “The Client” would be introduced eventually—it was just a matter of when. It seems like Ozark could be pulling a Breaking Bad, introducing its endgame villain roughly halfway through a five-season-long arc.
Though, it seems like Wendy Byrde might be the Walter White to Navarro’s Gus Fring. When the Season Three premiere begins, we learn that Wendy is dreaming big, hoping to expand her casino gamut to other locations. Since Navarro has fallen on hard times, she figures “The Client” would be happy with another, reliable money-laundering source. She was right. Navarro flies out for a meeting with Helen Pierce and Wendy, and seems interested in her proposal. (Marty, by the way, is spying on most of this via wire-tap). In the next episode, he even gives her a call to shoot the shit.
Going forward, it seems like Ozark’s plan is to have Wendy catch the drug-lord bug, and quietly rise the ranks of the Navarro cartel, becoming a sort of business-side version of Pierce. On the other end is Marty—who, judging by the early episodes of Season Three—will do everything he can to stop her. And their kids, as always, will be stuck somewhere in the middle.
Hell, I’m for an Ozark Season Five, Marty v. Wendy showdown—we should know if that’s the final plan by the end of this season.