Laura Linney Reveals ‘Ozark’ Had Alternate Ending: This Character Was Supposed to Survive

Ozark ended most tragically, but Laura Linney recently revealed there were alternate endings to the Netflix series. Find out what could have happened in the final season of Ozark. In one alternate version, a major character survives.

Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) at the prison in the final season of 'Ozark'
Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde | Netflix

Laura Linney didn’t watch the ending of ‘Ozark’

Ozark Season 4 ended with the Byrdes surviving and Julia Garner’s Ruth Langmore getting shot by Javi’s (Alfonso Herrera) mother Camila (Veronica Falcón). The show hinted heavily at Ruth’s death from the beginning — she knew there would be repercussions for killing Javi, but she did it anyway to avenge Wyatt (Charlie Tahan). 

Ruth (Julia Garner) in her last moments alive in the final season of 'Ozark'
Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore | Tina Rowden/Netflix

Ozark didn’t end there, though. The final moments of the series show Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) shooting private eye Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg) after he discovers proof of Ben’s (Tom Pelphrey) murder.

In an interview with Vulture, Linney admitted she hasn’t seen the final episode of Ozark. “I’m very bad at watching myself,” she said. “I’m particularly bad at watching things that I really loved doing because it’s going to change the minute I see it.”

‘Ozark’ had an alternate ending 

Speaking to the same question, Linney said she didn’t know “what they chose” for the ending of Ozark — that’s why she couldn’t comment. When asked what the other endings were, she wouldn’t comment, either. 

“No, I’m not going to do that,” she replied. “This is just what my experience in doing it is. What its overall result is or how it affects other people, I don’t have an agenda about that. I don’t think about results — like, what it all means, what it all does.” 

Instead of focusing on the end, Linney put stock in the “little, tiny moments leading up to [the end].” In her opinion, “… it’s going to be whatever it is, and I don’t have anything to do with that. That’s not my job.”

Ruth was initially going to survive in the ‘Ozark’ finale

As showrunner Chris Mundy revealed to The Wrap, there was a version of the show where Ruth survived at the end. Initially, the final season of Ozark was going to be 10 episodes instead of 14. In that version, Javi died at the very end and Ruth survived. The series expanding to 14 episodes changes all of that. 

“It just kind of kept becoming clearer and clearer that that was the way the most truthful story laid out,” Mundy explained.

“Then we kind of hated the fact that that was the most truthful story. We talked about versions of it where she was alive and had moved out of state and we find her halfway across the country and all sorts of things, but it was during the break of the final seven where we started to realize that the story we’d been telling for 43 episodes really was pointing to that other end, and then there was a lot of impassioned arguing from everyone.”

Chris Mundy, The Wrap

Laura Linney would ‘absolutely’ do more seasons of ‘Ozark’ 

There aren’t any plans for future seasons of OzarkHowever, Linney would “absolutely” return to the show if it came back. 

“I’m having real withdrawal from Ozark,” she told Vulture. “Everything about it worked. All the right people were in the right positions. Everyone had a similar viewpoint. Everyone had a similar work ethic.” 

She concluded: “I feel like I just landed in a pot of honey. I miss it a lot.”

Watch every season of Ozark on Netflix

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