'Ozark' Star Tom Pelphrey on Realizing His Character's Impact (Exclusive)

One of the more memorable aspects of Ozark Season 3 is the performance of actor Tom Pelphrey. The New Jersey native makes his debut early on as Ben Davis, the perpetually down-on-his-luck brother of Wendy Byrde, played by Laura Linney. In a recent interview with PopCulture.com, Pelphrey explained precisely when he knew his character would leave such an impact during his tenure.

"After I'd gotten the role and before we started filming about a week before we started filming, Chris Mundy, the showrunner, called me and walked me through the end-arcs for the season," Pelphrey said. "You know, kind of painted in broad strokes, but it gave me a clear idea of what would be happening and when, which was really, really helpful. So that gave me an idea of where it was going. I don't think I understood the magnitude of the impact it would have on the overall story until I read the scripts, particularly [episodes] eight and nine is when I was like, 'Oh, oh, this will really change things.'"

Part of Ben's inherently disruptive nature came from the fact that he's bipolar. It ends up causing quite a few problems for not only him, but everyone around him. Furthermore, he also had the unfortunate impulse to speak the truth about his sister's situation, which was she and her husband, Marty (Jason Bateman), were running a casino in Missouri to launder money for a Mexican cartel.

"I think there's a lot of ways in which the audience could watch what Ben is doing and understand it and support him and also feel outraged about what he's outraged by and also feel like somebody should say the truth to what he says," Pelphrey said. "On the other hand, because we know the show and we know the Byrdes, and we know what's at stake, there's a part of the audience that, I'm sure, is looking at what Ben is doing and say, 'Don't do that! That's so bad! You're going to cause so many problems. You're going to get people killed!'"

"So I just think that that was excellent writing in the sense that sort of great, you know, quote-unquote tragedy is like, yes, we fully understand why this is happening and makes perfect sense — and yet it's going to end terribly," he added. To see the terrible ending Pelphrey teases, stream all three seasons of Ozark on Netflix.