Ozark: Why did FBI agent Roy Petty star Jason Butler Harner really leave Ozark?

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Season three of Ozark landed on Netflix recently with even more gritty drama. The story picked up after six months with the Byrdes facing more danger from the Mexican cartel. Marty (played by Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) had to meet the demands of the cartel while the FBI monitored their riverboat casino.

Why did FBI agent Roy Petty star Jason Butler Harner really leave Ozark?

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Ozark

Season three saw agent Maya Miller (Jessica Francis Dukes) and Trevor Evans (McKinley Belcher III) going after the Byrde family.

Agent Evans had a vendetta against Marty and blamed him for the death of his former lover Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner).

As Ozark viewers will remember, Petty met a grisly end at the hands of an infuriated Cade Langmore (Trevor Langmore) in the season two finale.

Petty was on a fishing trip when his head was bashed in with a rock by Cade. The killing occurred when the FBI agent refused to take him seriously after claiming he had dirt on Marty.

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The FBI agent had pretty much ended up as a joke among his colleagues in his dogged pursuit of the family, which had yielded nothing.

He was calling it quits and taking a holiday when he was approached by Cade, who said he could take down the Byrdes.

Speaking about the body count in season two, Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy told Thrillist back in 2018: “Yeah, that was rough.

“As we were plotting the season out, and as we laid out what we wanted to do to Netflix at the beginning of the year, everybody knew which characters were going to go, but it’s still hard because those are friends you’re not going to be working with next year.

“Those cast phone calls were all incredibly hard to do. But to everyone’s credit, everybody was really professional and gracious.”

Mundy added: “The first responses were basically, ‘OK. Am I going to get a good death, then?’”

The writer went on to say: “At the end of the season Laura Linney actually threw a wake for Jason Butler Harner, who plays Petty, and it was sort of a memorial to everyone who had died during the year.

“There were pictures and candles, a full-on funeral set-up, Laura gave a eulogy.

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“Everybody who was around in Atlanta where we film — most of the crew, all of us, the actors — came. It was really nice, but sort of bittersweet, too.”

His words suggest it was a narrative decision rather than the star wanting to leave.

Petty may be gone but he’s not forgotten and mentioned a lot with his death being Evans’ motivation to push forward and crack the Byrdes.

Evans even pays members of the KC Mob to do his bidding. Despite his best efforts, he doesn’t manage to pin the couple down as much as he’d hoped.

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Petty’s suggestion to his superiors about using the riverboat casino as a “Trojan horse” appeared to have been heeded given the amount of FBI presence and forensic accountants swarming around the tables of the Missouri Belle.

The death scene was carefully mapped out by a stunt coordinator to create the illusion of the grotesque death.

Star Trevor Long recently spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about why Cade killed the FBI agent in the first place.

Since working on Ozark, star Butler Harner has gone on to star in the movie I Was a Stranger and The Big Band.

According to IMDb, he will be starring in a TV series called Next which was announced.

Before featuring in Ozark, Butler Harner had roles in Ray Donovan, Betrayal, Homeland and Alcatraz.

Ozark seasons 1 to 3 are streaming on Netflix now

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