Which is better: Ozark or Narcos?


Ozark and Narcos are both Netflix original crime shows that have been compared, however, the matter of which one is better is still up for debate.

What happens when you have two hit original series that involve drugs, mafia and territory wars and compelling storylines that keep viewers entertained for more than just a single season?

Well, they get compared, especially when both series come from the same platform.

This happens to be the case with Netflix’s Ozark and Narcos. Ozark premiered in 2017, which is the same year that Narcos concluded its original series.

Ozark, on the other hand, is currently airing its fourth and final season, while Narcos had a total of three seasons from 2015 until 2017.

What is Ozark and Narcos?

Ozark was created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, a Hollywood film duo known for their attention to detail.

According to IMDb, Ozark is premised on, “A financial advisor drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder money to appease a drug boss.”

It has a total of three Primetime Emmy wins out of the 19 accolades the show has gotten since it started. Narcos, on the other hand, was created by Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato and Doug Miro.

According to the premise, the series takes, “A chronicled look at the criminal exploits of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, as well as the many other drug kingpins who plagued the country through the years.” Narcos also has three Primetime Emmys out of the eight trophies it won during its run.

Which is better: Ozark or Narcos?

The biggest similarity between Narcos and Ozark is that both stories feature elements of drugs, which are spear-headed by Mexican cartels.

However, television and film commentators do not often like to compare the two, because the narratives surrounding drug cartels and the wars are written differently in each story.

More to the point, Ozark merely used this narrative as a subplot. The premise and main plot of the story has always hinged on the matter of whether or not the Byrde family will finally earn their freedom from the Navarro cartel.

Meanwhile, Narcos used the life and times of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar as the premise of the whole show. Therefore, the narrative is inherently entrenched in the power-struggles of opposing drug cartel families.

Hence the question of which is better, ultimately lies with you, as the viewer. Meaning that you would need to watch both to decide.

In the meantime, here are some other similar Netflix shows to watch if you like Ozark and Narcos.

True Detective

True Detective first premiered in 2014 and had three seasons before it ended in 2019.

Created by Nic Pizzolatto, the thrilling-suspense crime drama is a, “Seasonal anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.”

It has a rating of 8.9 out of 10 on IMDb, and the cast consists of seasoned actors including Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams. During its run, it amassed a total of 30 awards and five Primetime Emmy awards.

Narcos: Mexico

Considering that the original series, Narcos is continually compared to Ozark, there is no way that the spinoff of the original is not a must-watch.

The spinoff is the brainchild of Narcos creators, Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato and Doug Miro. Therefore, it is set to be filled with the same high stakes as its predecessor.

Narcos: Mexico is premised on, “The rise of the Guadalajara Cartel as an American DEA agent learns the danger of targeting narcos in Mexico.” The spinoff aired from 2018 until 2021 and is rated 8.4 out of 10 on IMDb.

Breaking Bad

The closest comparison to the premise of Ozark, is probably the critically acclaimed and culture shifting crime drama series Breaking Bad.

The series is a must-watch for any Ozark or Narcos fans. Created by Vince Gilligan, it followed, “A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.”

Airing from 2008 until 2013, during its five season-run, it managed to win 16 Primetime Emmys and a total of 154 awards. The culture-shifting series is rated a 9.4 out of 10 on IMDb.


While it is easy to try and compare popular series that come out following each other, especially if those series have similar tropes in their stories, the comparison might fall short in doing justice to either story, as they might have different themes which are conflated into one.

This is the case for Netflix series, Ozark and Narcos. Since both stories involve drugs and cartel territory wars, with Ozark also premiering in 2017 when Narcos aired its series finale, they have often been compared.

However, they are different, as this trope is part of Ozark’s subplot, while it is the actual premise of Narcos.