Before she was playing tough FBI agent Maya Miller on the Netflix series Ozark, Jessica Frances Dukes played the character for three seasons on Showtime’s The L Word and starred in films such as Dave Made a Maze and The Brass Teapot. We spoke with Dukes about why she decided to join the Ozark cast, what it’s like working with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, and how she balances her time between TV and film projects. Here’s what she had to say. Ozark’s Jessica Frances Dukes on Her Character Maya Miller
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What drew you to this role?
I didn’t even know what Ozark was when I got sent in for it. I think I just liked that there was a woman in charge of an FBI department and I hadn’t seen anything like that before. That alone made me want to read it, but then when you start reading it, you realize all these other reasons why it is so great. The show and my character are both completely flawed and unapologetic about being so, which is something I always respond to positively. Also, there’s an energy to our show that is completely different from any other show out there right now, which is a huge reason why we have such a rabid fanbase.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If I could have any superpower, it would be to fly. Not only because I love birds and you can see so much of our beautiful planet when you’re flying; I’d also be able to easily travel around, just like birds do. And who wouldn’t want that? #girlpower!
If there was one thing about your character you could change, what would it be?
One thing that I would change about Maya is her lack of social skills in terms of dealing with people, but at least she is willing to admit when she doesn’t know something. I admire Maya’s determination to do her job and figure things out, even if it makes her look like a complete dork. I also really love Maya’s personality, she loves those around her and has such a strong sense of family. Even though she likes to give off tough girl vibes, Maya is just a big old softie at heart who loves everybody in her life and their quirks. She may be anal retentive and picky about everything, but deep down inside, she just wants everyone to be happy.
What is something that people might not know about you?
I was once an EMT in North Carolina. Back in 2013, after a hurricane tore through my hometown of Wilmington, I spent several days out with our emergency services teams, assisting with evacuations and helping anyone who needed help. I’ve always felt called to service, especially for people in vulnerable situations—and because of that experience, it didn’t take much to get me to sign up. It was a life-changing experience for me; whenever I work now I think about what those men and women do every day to keep us safe—and then I do everything I can to support them. So many of them are unsung heroes who risk their lives every day and don’t get half as much recognition as they deserve.
Favorite scene from Season 3?
There’s a scene in Season 3 Episode 1 where I go to a casino and I see Bill [Jason Bateman] and it’s so fun because he was my boss for so long, and now he’s like my enemy. He has to treat me as an equal even though he doesn’t want to. They did such a great job of building that character between Seasons 2 and 3 of Bill trying to get back up on his feet, but also coming from such a dark place. It was really interesting seeing him as Maya because we had worked together since Season 1 and then she gets put in charge of taking down her former boss. And then you have all these new people who are like How do you feel about what happened?
What are some of your favorite TV shows?
Sure, it sounds like a fairly generic question. But there’s actually a good reason to ask what people are watching, reading and listening to right now: A lot of your prospects share similar tastes with your audience. And that can help you figure out what they need—and what they might be looking for in a product or service. For example, if someone says he’s been binge-watching Game of Thrones, you know that he likes entertainment that isn’t afraid to get serious about darkness and violence (or just plain has lots of it). You also know he might love books by George R.R. Martin or J.R.R Tolkien…and you can use that information when selling him something related to those topics!
Final message to fans.
Fans of Ozark know that things get intense in a hurry when it comes to Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his dysfunctional family. Since season one, fans have met Byrde’s wife Wendy (Laura Linney), his sister-in-law Charlotte (Stranger Things star Julia Garner), and his two children Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) and Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz). By season four, it’s safe to say that most people will understand why Marty and Wendy opted to relocate from Chicago to rural Missouri. Even though Ozark is a fictional show, starring actors who aren’t actually related by blood, some relationships grow stronger with each episode.
Who plays the female FBI agent in Ozark?
If there is one person who makes you sit up and pay attention in Ozark, it’s not Jason Bateman or Laura Linney—but rather, it’s Maya Miller. Played by rising star Jessica Frances Dukes, Maya was introduced in season three of Ozark as a federal agent working with Marty Byrde (Bateman) to investigate his money laundering casino business.
Does Marty turn Agent Miller?
Oscar-nominated actress Janet McTeer plays Wendy Byrde, married to Marty (Jason Bateman) and mother to Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz). The family has their home base in Chicago where Marty is a financial advisor with an accounting firm. They are sometimes clients of…
Who plays Mayas mom in Ozark?
In Ozark, which is a Netflix series and has just released season 3, Jessica Frances Dukes plays Mayas mom. She is also known for her roles in Arrow, The Walking Dead and Scandal. Fans first meet Maya’s mom when she visits her daughter at work in season 2 episode 6. Later in season 3 we learn more about their relationship as they spend time together while waiting to see if they can get enough money to leave town.
Does Marty take the FBI deal?
It’s something that he doesn’t want to do, but there comes a point where he realizes how much is at stake for him and his family. He’s worried about his teenage kids and what trouble could be coming their way because of what they may have done in order to help him when it all started. They’re very close as a family, and they will do anything to protect each other.
Does Marty become an informant?
For those who missed it, during Ozark season 2, Marty Byrde (played by Jason Bateman) was asked by FBI agent Roy Petty (played by Tom Paxton) to help take down Del as an informant. In episode 10 of season 2 (What Are You Willing To Lose?), Petty says to a now-kidnapped Marty: You’re going to be my informant inside Del’s operation.
Who killed Frank Jr Ozark?
Whether you like it or not, there are some spoilers for Ozark season 3 in here so if you haven’t watched all of Ozark season 2 yet and don’t want any spoilers then I recommend that you skip to Q&A. So, Jessica Frances Dukes is a Canadian actress who played Maya Miller in Ozark season 3. She plays FBI forensic accountant who investigates the Byrdes’ casino business. I have had the chance to talk with her about Maya, The Sweeney Effect and more!