Did Ruth Really Die in Ozark Series Finale?

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Last month, Netflix released Ozark Season 4, Part 2, which consisted of the final seven episodes of the critically-acclaimed crime thriller that debuted in on the streaming service back in 2017. The series finale showed viewers the culmination of all four seasons, answering many questions about the story of the Byrde family's crimes with the Navarro cartel. As expected from a narrative with a passionate following, the series finale has left audiencs split on the conclusion.

Ozark Ruth
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Credit: Netflix
Ozark Ruth

Warning: Spoilers for Ozark series finale below.

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After initially agreeing to launder a Mexican drug cartel's money just to survive, the Byrde family joins the Lake of the Ozarks community, starting various business, including a casino, and even getting involved in the world of politics.

After making necessary deals with the FBI and the Mexican cartel, the Byrdes prepare to leave it all behind and return to Chicago, only for a private detective to confront them in closing minutes of the finale, threatening to expose their secrets. In the show's final scene, Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertne) points the shotgun at the private detective, and the scene cuts to black only to hear him fire the weapon.

However, the most controversial scene in the series finale is the death of Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner). After Omar Navarro's sister Camila Elizonndro (played by Queen of the South's Veronica Falcon) learns that it was Ruth who killed her son, Javi, as revenge for killing her cousin, she decides to kill her, and Ruth's final scene shows Camila shooting her on the chest with a gun before the scene cuts, leaving fans wondering if Ruth ultimately died from that shot.

Did Ruth really die in Ozark series finale?

Ozark Ruth Langmore death
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Credit: Netflix
Ozark Ruth Langmore death

Some fans are wondering if Ruth, one of Ozark's fan-favorite characters, ultimately died or if she survived the shot from Camila. Now, we have an answer from one of the show's creators.

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According to showrunner Chris Mundy, the Ozark writers' room was split down the middle when it came to deciding the fate of Ruth Langmore.

“There was a debate," Mundy told TV Line. "Half of the writers, or maybe a little under half, felt that there was something nice to knowing that Ruth would be out there in the world and doing well.”

Sadly, in the end, the other half won: Ruth was killed off in the closing minutes of Ozark's series finale.

Mundy explains that the argument for not giving Ruth a happy ending boiled down to this: It didn't feel honest “if everyone just gets off too easily.”

The showrunner concedes that there is an “innate cynicism” in having the underdog (in this ending, Ruth) pay the ultimate price while the Byrdes get away clean.

“Capitalism doesn’t work unless there is a winner and a loser,” Mundy explained. “And there’s a degree to which the Langmores are going to be the losers of that equation, while somebody else builds their fortune. The Byrdes came in and climbed their way up off the backs of people like the Langmores, and they’re representative of a lot of people. There’s something about it that’s cynical and there’s something about it that’s very, just, true. So we were trying to write into that truth.”

Since the final minutes of Ozark didn't fully confirm if the bullet that hit Ruth's chest ultimately kill her, Mundy was asked if she was really dead, and he said, “I’m sorry; she totally, absolutely is.”