'Ozark' Star Tom Pelphrey Talks Working Opposite Laura Linney (Exclusive)

The third season of Ozark gave its dedicated viewers plenty of the nail-biting tension and jaw-dropping betrayal that they'd come to expect out of the crime drama. However, it also brought something new: actor Tom Pelphrey, who played Ben Davis, the bipolar brother of Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney). While neither character was immune to the show's gritty, violent world, the two captured the full dynamic of a brother/sister relationship. As Pelphrey himself told PopCulture.com that rapport "was pretty close to automatic."

"Laura is an actor whose work I've admired for many, many years," Pelphrey said. "Somebody who I've enjoyed watching and learning from... god, for so long now. And it's something I was very excited to have the opportunity to work with her. I was looking forward to meeting her, and as soon as I met her, she just pulled me into a hug and started talking, and she made me feel so welcome and so at ease and so comfortable."

It was that kind of comfort that allowed Pelphrey to flourish in his role. From trusting the show's writing to understanding the complexity of not only his character but his character's impact, it was his relationship with Wendy that helped to humanize Ben truly. As he tells it, the credit is owed to Linney.

"I mean, her talent is obvious," the actor continued. "We all know how talented of an actor she is, but she has that generosity of spirit as a person. She's a giver. She's amazingly generous with her energy and with her focus, and it made working at Ozark a very safe space for me. It made me extremely comfortable with her. She's just a very good human being. So, I credit so much of our on-screen chemistry to the fact that Laura's just so wonderful. I was excited to be there and excited to get to work with her. I knew she would make me a better actor, which she did, and she was just an excellent host."


"You know, I'm coming into her show, and she was so generous with me, and I'll always be grateful for that," Pelphrey added. "It's a good lesson to learn because it teaches you how you want to be in the future with other people that you work with."