Having been raised in the chaotic Birmingham underworld, most of the gangsters in Peaky Blinders have similar habits and practices. Their associates and loved ones have also learned to live using a specific template in order to survive. Nonetheless, everyone has their own unique personality.
Though actions can normally be relied on to show who a person really is, nothing highlights the mannerisms and views of the characters on the BBC show more than their remarks. Since most of them are outgoing, they always have a lot to say but there’s always that single line that underscores their persona.
“This Place Is Under New Management By Order Of The Peaky Blinders.”
Things get ugly for Darby Sabini during his war with Tommy. He suffers his biggest blow when Arthur leads men in raiding his most cherished business, the Eden Club, where they beat up everyone and declare that the Peaky Blinders are now running the business.
Arthur isn’t one of the most intelligent characters in Peaky Blinders but he is a master of mayhem, capable of unleashing violence on any tough human under the sun. He feels more alive when he is inflicting pain and conquering foes. In addition to that, he has always been highly dedicated to any course his family has. Seeing the Blinders on top of everyone else is his biggest joy.
“Find Some Stairs, Throw Him Down, And Call The Coroner.”
When Inspector Campbell is informed that the communist Stanley Chapman has died while being tortured for information, he comes up with an instant suggestion on how to cover up the death. The poor man should be made to look like he fell down the stairs.
As one of the evilest characters in Peaky Blinders, remorse and guilt are alien traits to Campbell. So long as any bad outcome was the result of him trying to do his job, he is fine with it. To him, his unorthodox policing methods are totally justified. Besides that, he is never been one to care much about people he considers ‘nobodies.” To him, only the big fish like Tommy matter.
“My Senior Position Within The Shelby Company Means I Don’t Have To Ask Permission From Anyone To Do Anything.”
Polly is offended when Russian refugee Anton Kaledin tells her to seek permission from Tommy so that they can discuss business. She not only reminds him how much authority she has but also changes her mind about discussing business with him.
As the matriarch of the Shelby family, Polly is used to giving the orders, so it’s understandable that she’d be taken aback by the suggestion that she should seek permission. She has never felt intimidated by men either since her life revolves around putting the leash on a group of temperamental criminals.
“When Fortune Drops Something Valuable Into Your Lap, You Don’t Just Dump It On The Bank Of The Cut.”
Tommy’s gang accidentally picking up a cache of weapons belonging to the government is one of the key things that happen in the pilot episode of Peaky Blinders. Many people implore Tommy to return the weapons but he chooses to keep them.
The Blinders boss has always radiated ambition and opportunism. With the weapons in his hands, he figures he’ll be able to cut a deal with the government and turn the Blinders into an even bigger organization. He’s mostly right. Even though the decision attracts the nuisance that is Chester Campbell, it eventually makes him rise in social status to the point where Winston Churchill becomes his associate.
“He’ll Wake Up. Granted, He Won’t Have Any Teeth Left, But He Will Be A Wiser Man For It.”
When some of Tommy’s men come to work for Alfie, one of them makes a lame joke. An angry Alfie proceeds to rain blows on him before assuring the rest of the men that what he has done will make the employee wiser.
It’s a scene similar to one in Breaking Bad where Tuco beats his henchman No-Doze to death for speaking out of turn. In Alfie’s case, his standout trait is the stereotypical gangster one where he does his best to intimidate everyone around him. Knocking out someone’s teeth for talking is his way of letting others know that they are to sweat and stay silent whenever they are in his presence.
“People Don’t Work With Me, They Work For Me.”
After discovering that Tommy’s men fixed races at his track, Birmingham Boys leader Billy Kimber shows up at the Garrison Pub, ready to shoot. Tommy calms him down and proposes a partnership but Kimber isn’t interested in that.
The most noticeable thing about Kimber is that he has delusions of grandeur. He thinks he is the most revered crime boss in England when he is clearly not. He feels too powerful that he thinks it’s okay to bully other gang leaders without any consequences. The mentality that others are beneath him eventually gets him killed.
“Oi! I’m A Shelby Too, You Know. Put My F**** Film Back On!”
Eager to find out who Ada is seeing, Tommy storms into a theater where she is watching a movie. Upon seeing Tommy, the owner of the theater stops the movie so that the Blinders boss can talk to Ada. This makes her furious.
As the only female among the Shelby siblings, Ada has always felt discriminated against. As a result, she is mostly known for her lamentations. She feels that people don’t respect her as much as they respect her brothers and this irks her. She, therefore, keeps reminding people who she is and why they should bow down before her.
“I Hope This Doesn’t Involve Razor Blades.”
As a condition for doing business, one of Tommy Shelby’s greatest enemies, Billy Kimber, demands that he be allowed to bed Grace. Tommy agrees but makes plans to save Grace before Kimber does anything with her. Grace also agrees to do whatever she is asked so long as there won’t be any fighting.
Two things are clear about Grace during her time on the show. She likes putting herself in danger but she also hates violence. Her love for thrills is the reason she agrees to spy on the Blinders for the Royal Irish Constabulary. It’s also the reason she agrees to Tommy’s request, despite being aware of Kimber’s brutality. She’s always had full trust in the Blinders boss. A part of her knows that if the meeting with Kimber starts to go south, Tommy and his men will be cutting through throats with their razors.
“Do What You Have To, Mr. Shelby. And If You Need Anything, Call Me.”
Churchill is bothered when the fascists begin infiltrating England. During a meeting with Tommy, he indirectly gives him permission to assassinate those pushing the agenda, specifically Mosley.
On the show, Churchill is shown to be a master of delegation. He understands that macro-managing is what it takes to be a great leader and that’s part of the reason he ends up being the Prime Minister. Churchill is also an end-justifies-means type of leader and that’s why he is okay with working with those with questionable morals, including Campbell and Tommy.
“When I Was Michael’s Age I’d Killed A Hundred Men And Seen A Thousand Die.”
Right after she gets reunited with Michael, Polly tries to prevent him from hanging out with the Shelby siblings because she fears they’ll introduce him to crime. John notices this and advises her to let Michael be a gangster or else he’ll start resenting her.
Like Arthur, John has always been about the life of violence. He prides himself on being a prolific killer and sees no reason why anyone would be ashamed of that kind of life. John values everything that the Blinders stand for hence the reason Polly’s efforts to keep Michael away baffle him.