Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy confirms Ruth Langmore is indeed dead and, therefore, likely won’t appear in any potential spinoffs. When Netflix’s panic-inducing crime drama premiered in 2017, it introduced audiences to the money-laundering Martin “Marty” Byrde (Jason Bateman) as he relocated his family from Chicago to Missouri in a half-baked attempt to appease a prominent drug cartel. In the Ozarks, Marty meets habitual criminal Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), who has proven just as brilliant as her mentor, and more compelling—not to mention terrifying—than those that began the series with much more power and influence. In the shocking ending of Ozark season 4, part 1, self-proclaimed businessman Javi Elizondro guns down newlyweds Darlene Snell and Wyatt Langmore. In the second half of season 4, Ruth hunts down the cartel’s head and enacts her revenge for the murder of her cousin. Subsequent episodes see Ruth acquire two separate businesses, clear her criminal record, and seemingly turn her life around—which makes her fate in the Ozark series finale all the more controversial. Newly-minted cartel boss, Camila Elizondro frightens Clare Shaw into revealing Ruth was the one who killed her son. Camila wastes no time in enacting her vengeance as she shots Ruth in front of her trailer. With reports suggesting Netflix may be developing Ozark spinoffs, fans are wondering if Ruth could have survived.
Ozark showrunner Mundy addresses how the finale more than implies Ruth is dead. Mundy notes how the show’s writers were divided on Ruth’s fate, with “half of the writers, or maybe a little under half, felt that there was something nice to knowing that Ruth would be out there in the world and doing well.” However, “it didn’t feel honest “if everyone just gets off too easily.” When asked if Ruth is definitely dead, Mundy added, “I’m sorry; she totally, absolutely is.” The Ozark showrunner explained how the emotional and difficult decision to have Ruth bite the dust defaulted to the show’s core theme regarding the ruthlessness of capitalism. As a deconstruction of class, Ozark’s narrative explores the contrast between the Langmores and the Byrdes. Garner’s Ruth and Bateman’s Marty are at the epicenter of that comparison. While neither can be considered righteous, there’s a winner and a loser, with the latter stepping on the former and leaving her for dead. The Langmores are (basically) all dead because of the Byrdes, who get off seemingly or, at the very least politically, scot-free.
Ozark’s finale ends with Marty and Wendy coming home to find Mel Sattem holding the cookie jar containing Ben’s ashes. Instead of accepting their bribe of a better life/career, the private investigator couldn’t sell his soul. Just when audiences thought the Byrdes “[won’t] get to win…the world doesn’t work like that,” Jonah Byrde executes the former Chicago cop before the end credits roll. In addition to that puzzling and pointless car crash, Ozark’s ending is incredibly divisive. The last episode currently sits at a series low rating of 6.9 on IMDb—a score that has undoubtedly been affected by the fact that the inimitable Ruth Langmore is definitely dead.