‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 6: Creator Explains Tommy Shelby’s Ending

Peaky Blinders Season 6 just hit Netflix, and fans finally get to see how the Shelby family saga ends. Season 5 brought Tommy Shelby’s foiled plan to assassinate Oswald Mosley to the forefront. Now, fans get to see what becomes of the gangster leader in this final chapter. Here’s what show creator Steven Knight says about Tommy’s ending.

[Spoiler alert: Peaky Blinders Season 6 spoilers ahead.]

Does Tommy Shelby die in ‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 6?

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in 'Peaky Blinders' Season 6
Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby | Robert Viglasky/Netflix

Many fans expect to see Tommy Shelby’s death in Peaky Blinders Season 6. So, does Tommy Shelby die? It’s assumed the character dies at some point in the future, but the series leaves fans on an ambiguous note. National World notes the season 6 finale shows Tommy hosting a farewell dinner for family and friends before riding off on a white horse to succumb to his illness. Earlier in the season, Tommy found out he has terminal tuberculoma.

Of course, there’s a twist at the end. While Tommy goes to kill himself due to his terminal illness, he discovers the doctor who diagnosed him is friends with Oswald Mosley. Tommy doesn’t actually have a terminal illness, as the doctor lied to him. While he confronts the doctor, Tommy ultimately lets him live and instead chooses to ride away on his own with a new, uncertain future.

During an interview with Esquire, Cillian Murphy said a fan begged him not to kill Tommy in the new season. “In the end, I said, ‘I promise I won’t kill him,'” the actor noted.

Creator Steven Knight explains Tommy Shelby’s ending

Thomas Shelby's profile as he's standing in a shadow in 'Peaky Blinders' Season 6
Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby | Matt Squire/Netflix

Peaky Blinders Season 6 creator Steven Knight spoke to The New York Times about Tommy Shelby’s fate in the end. Knight wanted to ponder the question of whether Tommy could be redeemed after fans watch him commit terrible acts over six seasons.

“I always imagine that before Episode 1 of Season 1, he put a gun to his and decided, ‘Well, I’m not going to kill myself, I’m just going to do whatever I want,'” Knight explained. “There’s a great Francis Bacon quote about how, since life is so meaningless, we might as well be extraordinary. Tommy doesn’t think there’s a point, he doesn’t think there’s a goal, he doesn’t think there’s a destination, he just does these things.”

By the end, though, Knight noted Tommy “comes back to life” one step at a time. “It’s like something that’s frozen is thawing out, but obviously, that process is very painful,” Knight continued. “My take is that season 6 is asking the question: Can Tommy Shelby be redeemed? And I think that question is answered in the last 10 minutes.”

Cillian Murphy commented on what’s next for his character


What does Cillian Murphy think about Tommy Shelby by the end of Peaky Blinders Season 6? The actor spoke to Deadline about Tommy potentially being “redeemed” in the end.

“I could not really say whether people felt that themselves, the audience, because I just needed to play the truth of what the story was and where the character found himself,” Murphy explained. “That whole thing about redemption, it’s so kind of subjective really, isn’t it?”

As for what’s next for Tommy, Murphy noted he doesn’t know, as Steven Knight “always surprises” him. “Whenever you read a script from him, it is never how you expected or what you thought might happen,” Murphy said. “It’s always, in fact, completely the opposite. He manages to kind of subvert that gangster narrative very well, I think. I don’t know, I really, really don’t know.”

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