- Acceptable Ethnic Targets:
- The Chinese population of Birmingham seems to be there for both the police and the gangs to exploit. Though there is a nice bit of subversion in one of Arthur's lines in the first episode where he acknowledges that the Chinese have their own gangsters and should just be left alone.
- The Irish are not treated well either, usually being portrayed as Ax-Crazy criminals.
- The Petrovnas are all a bunch of corrupt and manipulative elites who toy with lower-class people like the Shelbys and do things like host orgies in their mansions. Their characterization stands in contrast to the typical portrayal of Russian aristocracy at the time of the Russian revolution as innocent victims of revolutionaries. The Soviets, by contrast, seem very ordinary.
- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- Is Tommy a cold, calculating (but human) gang boss who just wants to pull his family out of poverty, or is he a sociopath, using anyone and everyone in his path to power?
- Is Michael Gray a troubled teenager thrust into the glamorously dangerous world of the Shelbys, or is he a budding sociopath patterning himself after Tommy and manipulating his mother into letting him have whatever he wants? Or, is he the victim of a pedophile doing whatever he can to never be powerless again?
- Did Alfie Solomons really betray the Shelbys again? Or did he knowingly engineer a situation that would give Tommy, who he calls "a very, very dear friend of mine," an excuse to kill him, rather than succumbing to his cancer?
- Anti-Climax Boss: Billy Kimber is supposed to be a feared gangster, but he's actually more of The Napoleon. He has his mooks do his fighting for him and is dispatched by a single Boom, Headshot! from Tommy with no fanfare.
- Base-Breaking Character: Grace. In season one, the fandom was divided over if she was a competent spy or not, and whether her falling in love with Tommy was romantic or contrived, especially given that Tommy inexplicably forgives a woman who sold him out to the cops, which Polly calls her out on. In season two, Grace fans were happy to see her back after running off to New York, and celebrated her hookup with Tommy and pregnancy. Non-fans of the character were displeased at her having virtually nothing to contribute and being the catalyst for Tommy acting erratically and breaking up with interesting new character May Carleton (whom Grace fans call "annoying" and "terrible", following Annabelle Wallis's own hatred for May's character "coming between" Grace and Tommy, nevermind the fact Grace left Birmingham and got married in New York voluntarily). Season three has reached a fever pitch, where Grace has not only gotten married to Tommy, but has been shot in a botched assassination attempt. Whether you think this is heartwrenching drama or a further shoehorning-in of an unnecessary character depends on how much you like Grace.
- Season five continues the schism, with Tommy unhappily married to Lizzie, but seeing Grace in his dreams and later, hallucinating her at times of suicidal ideation. She's now become his idea of an angel of death, tempting him with how "easy and soft" death could be for him. Utilizing a talented actress in an interesting way, or contrived Madonna stereotype, you be the judge.
- Complete Monster:
- Inspector Chester Campbell, from the first 2 seasons, originally assigned to recover the stolen guns from the Peaky Blinders, first comes into contact with the gang when he has his men terrorize a community under its protection before beating up gang member Arthur Shelby. When he learns that Arthur's brother Thomas "Tommy" Michael Shelby is the leader, he makes his presence known to him by demanding the location of the stolen guns with the threat of death to him and family, including Tommy's pregnant sister. Campbell later tortures and kills a suspect under his custody. Despite recovering the guns he becomes enraged when he learns that his mole, Grace actually fell in love with Tommy; he takes his rage out at a prostitute by brutally raping her. He later incites a gang war between the Peaky Blinders and a rival gang in hopes that Tommy dies, uncaring if innocents die, and attempts to kill Grace himself. Upon being promoted to Major, Campbell orchestrates an plan to have Tommy assassinate Henry Russell, and later burns a man alive under a pile of searing charcoal when he interferes. When Tommy deviates from Campbell's plan he has Tommy's brother and cousin thrown in jail and beaten up only releasing them if Tommy's aunt Polly has sex with him; he later rapes Polly when she tries to back out. After Tommy assassinates the target, Campbell attempts to have Tommy executed once he had outlived his usefulness. While claiming to be fighting for justice, Campbell is nothing more than a sadist, who abuses his authority to bully the weak.
- Father John Hughes, from season 3, is a member of The Economic League and by far its most vile member. First appearing before Tommy after getting him arrested, Hughes tells him on how easy he can get to him and his family, something he makes clear when he along with his co-conspirators arranges for Tommy to be assassinated, with his wife Grace Taking the Bullet for him. In retaliation, Tommy attempts to kill Hughes, only for Hughes ordering his men to ambush and beat Tommy up to the point his skull gets crushed. He later has Tommy "apologize" for trying to kill him in front of the League before revealing himself to be a Pedophile Priest who raped the children under his "care"; Tommy's cousin, Michael Gray, was one of his victims. He then has Tommy blow up a train full of innocents, so that he and the league could profit from its destruction. Should Tommy not do the deed, Hughes will rape and kill Tommy's son whom he's holding hostage.
- Critical Research Failure: When Tommy stops Kimber from raping Grace, he refers to syphilis as "the clap" when, in fact, the term refers to gonorrhea.
- The creators have made a mess of Russian names in Season 3. "Petrovich" and "Petrovna" are not Russian last names. Neither are they first names. These are patronymics (meaning "son of Peter" and "daughter of Peter") and are not used on their own, only after a first name. ("Tatiana Petrovna" is correct but it's not her full name: the full name would be "Tatiana Petrovna Romanova".) What Tommy reads in a book about Russian aristocrats is utter nonsense: no way a Russian person can be named "Petrovich Romanov, Leon". The correct name order would be "Romanov, Leon Petrovich" or "Leon Petrovich Romanov". The situation is made more confusing by the fact that the three family members, Leon, Izabella and Tatiana, all share the same patronymic but are not siblings. Why would their fathers be all named Peter?
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Alfie Solomons is in a grand total of eight episodes and while he's admittedly badass and an entertaining cross between Cloud Cuckoo Lander and The Don, he's also responsible for murders, torturing Arthur, and selling the Shelbys out to Hughes and getting Charles kidnapped. Due to being played by Tom Hardy, fans nearly universally love him.
- Foe Yay: Fans were anticipating this between Cillian Murphy's Tommy and Tom Hardy's Alfie Solomons, largely due to the duo's real-life friendship and work history. They were right.
- Friendly Fandoms: With Boardwalk Empire, due to similar themes of the rise of organized crime in a country still recovering from World War 1.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Michael's seeming callousness in 2.05, after he learns that Polly was raped by Campbell in exchange for Michael's release from prison, and his comment that "maybe it is [funny]" get a lot darker in 3.05, when we find out that Michael is a rape victim himself.
- The difference between Tommy's promise to Grace in 3.01 ("no guns in the house, Charles will never see one") and the scene in 5.01 (where Charles knows precisely what kind of man his father is and has witnessed Tommy shooting his pet horse).
- He's Just Hiding!: Some fans believe that Grace, with the help of Tommy, faked her death, considering it parallels Tommy doing the same thing for Danny Owen in season one.
- Nearly everyone called Alfie not really being dead, considering how much of a Creator's Pet Tom Hardy is.
- Ho Yay: Michael, John and Arthur get very drunk and very handsy with each other in 3.03, considering they're cousins.
- Incest Yay Shipping: The Shelbys all have
tense, fraught, emotionally volatile relationships with each other, which are very easy to read as UST.
- Tommy and Polly, as the heads of the family, probably have the most.
- Michael and Polly are trying to build a relationship but dont really know how to be mother and son
- Michael is eager to be like his new cousins, and his hero-worship of Tommy can easily be read as a crush.
- Tommy is very protective/possessive/controlling of his sister Ada, not helped with Esme referring to her as "his little pet" when the family are estranged in Season Four.
- Just Here for Godzilla: There are quite a few fans who watch solely for either Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, or both.
- Moral Event Horizon: Campbell's Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and frequent raids on the Bolsheviks should have been our clue that however upstanding he may act, he's actually a despicable person. He really outdoes himself in episode four, threatening Tommy that he'll bash him and his brothers' heads in, kill Ada and her unborn baby, and throw Finn into prison with child molesters, all in the most affable voice imaginable. And tops that by allowing Chapman, Freddie's Bolshevik superior, to be severely tortured and die in police custody.
- Narm: Some of the accents on the show, but particularly Sam Neill's accent, which is nonetheless also praised as accurate.
- Ship-to-Ship Combat: Season Two kick-started the Tommy/Grace vs. Tommy/May wars, which get resolved in Season 3 with Tommy married to Grace and May never even mentioned. Then they get un-resolved with season 4 - Grace is dead, and Charlotte Riley is back playing May. Then some fans Take a Third Option with Tommy/Lizzie.
YMMV / Peaky Blinders