Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel greeted a packed audience of Television Academy members at Raleigh Studios on Sunday June 5th in Los Angeles. The Ozark FYSEE event screened the series’ finale ahead of a near hour long panel with the cast and creative team behind Netflix’s multiple Emmy nominated drama. 

Lead actor, producer, and director Jason Bateman and actress Julia Garner represented the main cast as Laura Linney had to send her regrets via a recorded message. Both Bateman and Garner are previous Emmy winners for their work on the series. 

Kimmel pushed showrunner and series finale writer Chris Mundy on the chances that Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner) fired the shotgun at Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) or the cookie jar instead of the ex-cop —named Mel— in the show’s final moments. “To me it’s pretty unambiguous, I think he shot Mel and Mel is dead,” Mundy said with a laugh.

Bateman and Mundy talked about Bateman’s early fears that the show couldn’t be funny because of his extensive background in comedy. “I was so self-conscious about my comedy baggage that I would ask Chris to take things out that were funny.” Bateman said. “As I got more confident, I was good with adding that back.”

“It was the beginning of season two when you said that and it was just starting to get darker,” Mundy joked in response.

Production designer David J. Bomba loved the challenge of building the riverboat gambling casino for the Byrde family in season two. “The worst part was knocking it down at the end of production,” Bomba said.

For Garner, she described meditating as her Ruth Langmore character and it being a key part of her acting process. The Emmy winning actress had just finishing a meditation last year when it came to her that she would die in the final season.  

Then a phone call came from Chris Mundy a few minutes later.  “I told Chris that I was getting killed off, and he said, ‘Who told you?’” Garner recalled. Mundy was very open on the panel about the tug of war over Ruth’s fate, saying that heated arguments were constant in the writers room until he finally put the subject to bed.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 05: (L-R) Jason Bateman and Julia Garner speak onstage at FYSEE Ozark ATAS Official with Netflix at Raleigh Studios Hollywood on June 05, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)

The final season offered a surprise cameo from Killer Mike, which Mundy revealed was decided very early in the writing process. However, getting the necessary song rights for the episode in question was a much long process between Chris Mundy and music supervision Gabe Hilfer. “Gabe was working on the rights to the Nas songs for a year,” Mundy said.

“There are lots of legal issues with samples used in 1990s hiphop and you have to peel a lot of layers back,” Hilfer shared. Bateman then highlighted Chris Mundy’s history as a writer for The Rolling Stone magazine and his deep appreciation for music and its placement in the show.

For editor Cindy Mollo, Kimmel asked about her favorite moments cutting the series. Mollo, who has previously been nominated for her work on Ozark, zeroed in on two moments. The first being Ruth’s (Julia Garner) killing of Javi this season.  In her previous years on the show, Mollo felt strongest about when Marty (Jason Bateman) realizes that he has to kill Mason, the unhinged pastor, in order to save Wendy (Laura Linney).

Cinematographer Shawn Kim was asked about lighting when he shot the series’ final episodes, and Kimmel slid in a joke about the imperceptible Night King battle in Game of Thrones’ final season. “We basically block out the sun and relight the scene so we have full control,” Kim said. “It required a hyper level of control amid the Georgia weather and thirteen months in production.” 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 05: (L-R) Jimmy Kimmel, Chris Mundy, Jason Bateman, Julia Garner, Cindy Mollo, David J. Bomba and Shawn Kim attend FYSEE Ozark ATAS Official with Netflix at Raleigh Studios Hollywood on June 05, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron Burton is the Awards Editor and Chief Critic at Awards Focus and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Byron is a voting member of the Television Academy, Critics Choice Association, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists (the SCL) for his work on Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse (2016). Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's "Behind the Slate" Screening Series and their "Spotlight Live" event at the American Legion in Hollywood. Byron covered the six person panel for Universal's "NOPE" as well as panels for Hulu's "Pam & Tommy Lee" and "Welcome to Chippendales" and HBO Max's "Barry" and "Euphoria."

For songwriters and composers, Byron is a frequent moderator for panels with the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) as well as The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, The Witcher & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, & Lovecraft Country; Amazon Studios' The Legend of Vox Machina, Wild Cat, & Annette; and Apple TV+s Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, and 5 Days at Memorial.

In February of 2020, Byron organized and hosted the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

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