Peaky Blinders Season 5 places the Shelby family in the midst of a financial crisis while still dealing with the growing threat of fascism.
Peaky Blinders, a BBC drama that has become a genuine international success thanks to its gritty storytelling, the fantastic cast led by Cillian Murphy, and availability on Netflix shortly after its UK run ends, has seen its popularity rise with each subsequent season over the past few years.
This time around, there’s a lot more to like, as the new season kicks off on Black Tuesday 1929, the start of the Great Depression. It’s the clearest example of the chic historical drama using a specific point in time to differentiate its new plot and cause chaos for Murphy’s Tommy Shelby and his family’s criminal domination plans.
Steven Knight’s depiction of a scrappy Irish crime family’s post-World War II rise from the hardscrabble slums of Birmingham to a seat in the English government has been one of the most deliberate and rewarding in recent memory.
With Knight confirming his intention to see the series into at least season 7, he envisions it plunging into a turbulent era in European history, one in which the wheels of time threaten to crush Tommy Shelby’s criminal, financial, and political ambitions.
It’s no easy task for a period drama like Blinders to hold its focus on the future while remaining grounded in the lives of its characters. The future is unclear for Tommy and the rest of his family, as their legal business holdings in the United States are seriously harmed by the stock market crash, which is helped in part by Michael’s (Finn Cole) inability to listen to his cousin’s advice.
Since the Peaky Blinders’ normal methods of dealing with enemies are unavailable in this situation, Claflin is one of the best villains to come out of the show since Sam Neill’s Inspector Chester Campbell.
Mosley, like Campbell, is able to use the Blinders’ tactics against them while still protecting himself from retaliation. It’s not unusual for the show to make Tommy seem to have met his match only to discover that he’s already been one step ahead of the competition.
It’s exciting, though, to see that the series can still ramp up the tension and put the squeeze on its criminal family in such a confident and entertaining way in its fifth season.