Cillian Murphy in Season 6 of Peaky Blinders (Photo: Matt Squire/Netflix)
Subscribe to Primetimer's
and get our guide to the very best series, movies and specials in your inbox every Friday.
Season 6 | Netflix
Hourlong Crime Drama (6 Episodes) | TV-MA
What's new and what's changed?
A slate-gray curtain rises on the sixth and final season of this critical delight set in turbulent postwar England, where grinding poverty, civil war, and the post-traumatic stress of World War I hang over a Birmingham crime family like a dank fog.
Cillian Murphy remains scintillating as Tommy Shelby, the bookmaker-politician-thug whose efforts to go legit have usually been undermined by his leadership in the Peaky Blinders clan. For Season 6, the show jumps to 1933, where Tommy has wound up off the coast of Newfoundland running an import racket. Swearing off booze, he's trying to get his head sorted out and come to grips with the psychic scars left by the Great War. However, as Britain's favorite antihero works on his PTSD, he's got some scores to settle, and his enemies have scores to settle with him.
Finn Cole (Animal Kingdom) plays Michael Gray, a Shelby family cousin who has risen to the role of Tommy's chief rival. Having mismanaged the Shelbys' legal business interests in New York, he's come back to England and spends most of Season 6 plotting to overthrow Tommy.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays Michael's sassy American wife, Gina. She entered the Peaky universe in Season 5 and gets a lot of screen time in the final episodes. If you saw Taylor-Joy in The Queen's Gambit, then you know why.
Adding to Tommy's troubles, UK fascist Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) has it out for him, and not just because his fianceé, Diana Mitford (Amber Anderson), lusts after Tommy. Also, Tommy's daughter is ill and he longs to be with his dead wife Grace instead of second wife Lizzie (Natasha O'Keeffe). He may get his wish if he doesn't watch his back.
Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?
Unlike so many other shows in its genre, Peaky Blinders has an exuberance and confidence that whisks you along its rather predictable waters. As one fan in our forums aptly put it, “Downton Abbey pales in comparison to this gem.” Since each season is only six episodes, you can binge one episode a night and be done in a month.
Reviewers in the UK raved about Season 6 when it premiered there earlier this year. The series remains impeccably stylish, with exquisite sets, eye-catching costumes, and some pretty highfalutin dialogue for a story about uneducated criminals.
Another strength of Peaky Blinders is that it's managed to stay fresh from one season to the next. Sadly, the biggest adjustment in the final run was writing family matriarch Aunt Polly out of the script — Helen McCrory, who played her, died in 2021 at age 52. Kudos to Knight for making Polly's departure a significant plot point and for guiding this minor masterpiece to the finish line.
Pairs well with
Boardwalk Empire (HBO Max), which never quite got its due during its five seasons on HBO, despite its 20 Emmy wins. It has an operatic quality that is a contrast with hard-charging Peaky Blinders.
Animal Kingdom, TNT's intricate series about a crime family that stars Finn Cole. (Streaming on Prime Video.)
Fear City, Netflix's docuseries about the NYPD's plan to take down five Mafia families.