We’re still waiting for a premiere date for the fourth and final season of Ozark, which makes us more annoying than seeing the third season pressure cooker. But sadly, we’ll have to wait to know when we can see the close of Netflix’s tense crime saga. After watching Ozark season three and Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) continuing to walk a tightrope between surviving money laundering for the cartel and being caught by the police or being killed by hillbillies, we look for more nerve-wracking dramas about desperate crooks .
If you are looking for more shows where someone is involved in a life of crime, violent fighting between drug cartels, or families hiding secrets, we have compiled a list of seven shows that will surprise you. From the show that paved the way for Ozark to some undiscovered gems that follow the same model, these shows will feature the next best.
Looking for more recommendations on what to see next? We have a lot of them! We also have recommendations for the best reality crime thrillers on Netflix and the best thriller films.
How to see: Netflix
Seeing Ozark without seeing Breaking Bad is like playing GoBots instead of Transformers. Ozark would not exist without AMC’s classic crime drama, which is considered by many to be one of the top 10 series of all time (it’s precisely number 1 in my book). The similarities are not accidental; Bryan Cranston plays a man who has fallen into the crime game (making and selling meth) under dire circumstances (he has terminal cancer and wants to care for his family) and forms the blueprint on which Ozark is based. But the writing, directing, and acting of Breaking Bad is superior to Ozark, perfecting the tightrope intensity that many shows have tried to emulate since then. Cartels, money laundering, a family on the fringes, everything here in Breaking Bad, and it’s much better.
How to see: Netflix
You know how to watch Ozark and someone is grotesquely blown up in an explosion and then all of a sudden there is this beautiful drone shot of the Ozarks and you think maybe I should take out the wife and kids to Missour- uh for a vacation? The show’s breathtaking backdrop is every bit as intriguing as the crime, and that feeling is ubiquitous on Netflix’s Bloodline too. In this case, the Florida Keys serve as a picturesque backdrop for corruption and crime that only further exposes its characters to the series’ questions about the level of morality. Like Ozark and Jason Bateman, Bloodline is confronted by one of television’s great leads in Kyle Chandler, who plays local detective John Rayburn, a member of an extremely disorganized and powerful family buried in secrets. What starts with family quarrels turns into crime and murder, but it’s that creeping sense of doom in a beautiful place that will remind you most of Ozark.
How to see: HBO max
Thanks to Ozark, we learned that Jason Bateman wasn’t just a funny guy who said things like, “Did anyone in this family even see a chicken?” He performed some serious dramatic lashes in Ozark, both in front of the camera as an actor and behind it as a director. Between seasons of Ozark, Bateman starred in this miniseries for HBO in which Bateman plays a Little League coach accused of murdering a boy. Since this is based on a Stephen King book, The Outsider is quick to add supernatural elements to its story, but the whimsy, occasional bluish tint, and Bateman’s solid performance are purely Oceanic.
Narcos / Narcos: Mexico
How to see: Netflix
When it’s more about the reckless cartel killing in Ozark you are looking for – who doesn’t love killing reckless cartel? – Then buckle up, because the Narcos franchise on Netflix is loaded with it. The first season of the original Narcos, which debuted in 2015, follows the DEA’s elimination of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Medellin cartel leader and world’s largest coke dealer. The series ran three seasons before moving to Narcos: Mexico, which may be even better than the original Narcos, and follows drug trafficking in Mexico and the Guadalajara Cartel. There aren’t any whites over their heads in the world of crime unless you count the government, but all the action, violence, and sneaky backstabbing you want from Ozark is here.
How to see: Netflix
Ozark is about keeping things clean and staying one step ahead of the bad guys. That’s also at the core of Spotless, a hidden gem on Netflix that never got the fanfare it deserved, largely because it debuted in the US as the Esquire Network – yes, Esquire Network was a thing in the 2015 original series . The British-French co-production (don’t worry, mostly in English) shows much of the bloody mess of Ozark thanks to the main character who runs a crime scene cleaning business in London, and Spotless has no qualms about the dirty details of death including beautifully shot crime scenes. But when his brother walks into town with a corpse in the trunk and a mob boss on his heels, he is drawn into a world of crime he never expected to be a part of. Fortunately, his unique talent brings him out of many difficult situations. Spotless is dark and harrowing like Ozark, but adds more black comedy to lighten the mood a little. “You brought weeds across the border?” “Well, I thought if they found the body they’d let the weeds slide.” Spotless was renewed for a second season years ago, which unfortunately has not yet materialized.
How to see: Amazon Prime
Amazon’s underrated crime series, Sneaky Pete, follows a man on the run from a crime boss who also has to act normally to pretend everything is fine. Sound familiar? Giovanni Ribisi plays an ex-con who has just been released from prison and who takes on the identity of his cellmate in an attempt to escape his troubled past. To make things even more complicated, he reunites with his cellmate’s long-lost family and has to pretend he is while saving his ass from thugs. This puts Ribisi’s character in an ever-worsening vice that he can somehow wriggle out of, much like Marty Byrde does about ten times in each episode of Ozark. Bryan Cranston also appears in and produces Sneaky Pete, as does Margo Martindale in case you need further assistance.
How to see: Hulu
Mennonite cocaine dealers! What other reason do you need to see this Canadian crime thriller? Pure, another series heavily influenced by Breaking Bad, premiered on WGN America in 2017 before moving to Hulu. He follows a Mennonite pastor in Canada who is undercover to stop the cocaine trafficking in his church. Before you say how ridiculous this is, remember: it is based on real events. Like Ozark, it shows a man being forced into crime, learning in the workplace and tempted by the dark side, and Ryan Robbins gives a strong performance as a conflicted pastor. But seriously: Mennonite cocaine traffickers! The show aired in two seasons of six episodes, but it’s unclear whether there will be a third.
Looking for more shows based on the ones you already love like Vikings, The Office, and Bosch? We have loads of them!