Ozark cast: Who plays hitman Nelson in Ozark? Meet star behind cartel assassin

Netflix hit series Ozark continues to build up a strong following thanks to its gritty subject matter and strong performances. The show sees a family fleeing from Chicago after getting threatened by the mob, only to have to set up shop and launder money for them in the Ozarks, Missouri. Season three recently dropped and saw Wendy Byrde (played by Laure Linney) and her husband Marty (Jason Bateman) continuing their criminal enterprises in a bid to protect their family.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Ozark season 3

Ozark has many shady characters, who are unafraid to pull the trigger for the cartel.

Among them is Nelson (Nelson Bonilla), who is the resident cartel assassin and often cleans up for the Mexican drug lord Omar Navarro (Felix Solis).

Wendy hired Nelson to bump off Cade Langmore (Trevor Long) in season two after he proved to be a threat to the family when he murdered FBI agent Roy Petty (Jason Butler-Harner).

In season three, Wendy then asked Nelson to take down her own brother Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey), when she perceived him to again put her family in danger.

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Nelson was also ordered to kill off the Byrdes marriage counsellor Sue Shelby (Marylouise Burke) after she found out about the cartel after Wendy and Marty let a little too much slip and wanted more hush money.

But the biggest moment for Nelson came at the end of season three when he executed cartel lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) right in front of the Byrde.

Marty and Wendy were left covered in blood and shaken to the core by witnessing the danger of the cartel first-hand.

Despite doing so many dark deeds, Nelson is a mysterious figure and a man of very few words.

Nevertheless, his ability to carry out killing is well-known to all including Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), who knew he killed off her father.

Who plays hitman Nelson in Ozark?

Nelson is portrayed by actor Nelson Bonilla, who hails from New Jersey.

The star is of Puerto Rican heritage and started his acting career in 2004.

Ozark is Bonilla’s biggest acting role to date after bit parts in other shows including The Walking Dead, The Haunting of Hill House, MacGyver and Sleepy Hollow.

Among his film credits are Creed, First Man, Sacrifice and Insurgent.

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His IMDb page states he will be next be appearing in Cherry and The Time Capsule, which are both in post-production.

Speaking in a Facebook video with Professional Acting Coach Crystal Carson last year, Bonilla reflected on being a struggling actor before getting a break.

The star said things for him changed when he started to approach auditions differently.

He explained: “I was a champion of memorising and it was a badge of honour.

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“I could go into a class and I would get a two or even three-page monologue and I would raise my hand and say, ‘I got that.’”

Bonilla went on to say: “However, it didn’t always translate, for me, in my taping and even less in my live auditions because it was all up here [in my mind], which to me – this is in retrospect – it made me very susceptible to variable whatever they might have been.”

He concluded: “So auditioning by heart allowed me to use what I thought was just junk in my life, like these flaws and thoughts and emotional and even spiritual part of my life.

“It actually gave me permission to not only accept them and incorporate them in my work.”

Bonilla said he’d initially thought this wasn’t sure about going down this route in his method of acting but ultimately found it beneficial to his career.

The star said: “If take the courage to take a sober look at where you’re at, where you want to go and what you need to do, I would encourage who feels that they’re at that place, this is the technique that has helped a lot of people. It transcends lines and generally speaking, I can be a bit freer.”

Ozark seasons 1 to 3 are streaming on Netflix now

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