'Peaky Blinders': Top 5 reasons Thomas Shelby is the most lovable gangster on TV
He is a murderer, a businessman, but most of all he is a family guy who commits himself to the lady he loves
Thomas Shelby (a.k.a Tommy), played by Cillian Murphy, in 'Peaky Binders' has been winning the hearts of audiences for both his ruthless nature and disconcerting personality. As the protagonist of the Steven Knight-created show, Thomas Shelby is the head of the notorious Birmingham gang, who call themselves the Peaky Blinders after their strategy of slitting the eyes of their enemy with a blade attached to their caps.
A former war hero, Tommy entered into politics as a Member of Parliament in the fourth season, and, it is about time he legitimizes the Shelby family's automobile business which has, for so long, run on the money they earned from illegal gambling.
In spite of his illegal activities, there are certain things that make Tommy an extremely empathetic character. Being an anti-hero by nature, the character has never seen steady progress in its development, but has, time and again, either fallen into the deepest pits of internal turmoil or has managed to succeed in business by a sheer force of violence.
However, there are still many things about Tommy that make him so relatable, viewers cannot help but empathize with him. As 'Peaky Blinders', starring Cillian Murphy (as Thomas Shelby), Helen Mc Crory (as Polly Grey), and Paul Anderson (as Arthur Shelby), returns next Spring with its fifth season, here are the top five character traits that make Tommy the most lovable gangster on TV:
1. Way ahead of his time
As a periodical drama, the show is chiefly based in late 1920s Birmingham, immediately following the aftermath of the First World War. It certainly wasn't a time when people were considerate about sexual orientation or mental issues. In fact, those who were different from the norm were often considered to be outcasts, but not by Tommy.
He has never judged any person based on their personal preferences. When he was introduced to his sister Ada's housemate, James, a gay man who was a writer by profession, Tommy immediately welcomed him to the house with kindness. He also treats his second cousin, Curly, a mentally disabled man, with the same amount of respect he would treat Polly or Arthur with.
2. A non-discriminating individual
Tommy himself belongs to the lower classes of society who, at that point, during the '20s, were almost considered outcasts. Being a gypsy by birth, he grew up to understand the world only listens to those who have money, and after returning from the First World War he realized it was not enough to win over a nation by simply fighting for it.
Due to these phases of discrimination, where Tommy was insulted and abused for belonging to the lower strata of society, he never showed any kind of disfavor towards anyone. He treats both the government and common civilians alike and is only violent towards them if they pose a threat to his family.
3. A family guy
Thomas Shelby has redefined coolness with his savage dialogues and suave appearance but he is, above all, a guy whose world revolves around his family. Although he might be a man of business, Tommy is more than often driven by the fact that he needs to make sure his family is safe. Due to their illegal business of gambling and automobiles, he is well aware the authorities might take them down any moment.
In order to avoid any such situation from happening, Tommy can go to the extent of manipulating the communists to be elected MP. He also does not shy away from using his title as a war-hero to save his family from execution, even when they are convicted criminals.
4. A man of his word
It quite easy to categorize Tommy as a Casanova due to his stature as the leader of the Peaky Blinders and his charismatic persona which is often too hard to resist. However, when he commits himself to one woman, he refuses to look at anyone else.
Even though a noblewoman like May Carleton (played by Charlotte Riley), who is just as rich as the Shelby family and belongs to the aristocratic class, falls for Tommy, he does not move away from his promise to marry Grace (played by Annabelle Wallis). Tommy remained married to Grace for as long as she was alive, and after her death, he did not look at any other woman, except Lizzie who he was bound to bring to the family.
5. The kind-hearted murderer
Let's just admit, Tommy is terrible at killing people. Unlike his brother, Arthur, and John, who often get into a frenzied mode of shooting 10 people in a row, Tommy barely picks up the gun unless it is necessary. He only harms those who pose a threat to his family, but otherwise, this seriously looking man seems to have immense love for both animals and children.
It is quite evident he is mentally shaken everytime he sees the death of an animal. Similarly, unlike most other gangsters, Tommy does not harm children. In fact, he has tried very hard to keep Polly's son, Michael, from joining the family business. Tommy knows that their business means blood, and he was never up for involving children into the dirty job.
Apart from the above, Tommy is essentially a humble man. He is a war hero, who saved his brigade when they were trapped in the trenches, but in spite of the honor bestowed upon him by the government, Tommy chose not to bask under the glory and instead work harder to move up the social ladder.
With the fourth season, we already witnessed him toppling an entire political party to become a Member of Parliament, but we will only get to know if he is able to hold on to the position when the show arrives at BBC One in late spring, next year.