Martín Zimmerman on “Ozark” and How Money Lures Us to Crime

Jason Batemen in the new crime drama Ozark (Photo: Zero Gravity Management, Media Rights Capital/Netflix)

Our guest on The Scene today is playwright and screenwriter Martín Zimmerman. His plays include Seven Spots On The SunOn The ExhaleWhite Tie BallThe Making Of A Modern Folk HeroThe Solid Sand Below and Let Me Count The Ways, and he has received many awards including the Terrance McNally New Play Award, Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citation and the National New Play Network’s Smith Prize. For television he has written for Netflix’s Narcos and is currently an Executive Story Editor for their new series Ozark. Ozark stars Jason Bateman as a financial advisor named Marty Byrde who has spent years quietly laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. When Marty’s partner is discovered to have been cheating the cartel and Marty is left on his own, he is forced to uproot his family and move to the Ozarks, with the task of laundering eight million dollars. In our conversation today, we look at the way this story about wealth, and the desperate lengths to which people are willing to go to preserve it, reflects the financial anxieties felt by many in this country. We consider the way money and status become valuable tools for reinvention, and how that theme is also reflected in his play The Making of a Modern Folk Hero, opening in October at Chicago Dramatists in a production by Other Theatre. I should note that our talk is essentially spoiler free, other than covering some of the exposition in the first episode, and it should be accessible to anyone interested in a conversation on money, crime and why people never feel financially secure.

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Martín Zimmerman
Martín Zimmerman (Photo: Carin Silkaitis)


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Zimmerman’s play On The Exhale is streamable at BroadwayHD.