4. John Shelby
Peaky Blinders’ fourth season begins with a explosive, tragic bang.
Christmas cards arrive at the various Shelby residences bearing a “black hand”; a declaration of vendetta from Luca Changretta, hellbent on avenging his father.
Tommy orders the family home to Small Heath to afford them better protection in their home territory, and Michael is sent to collect John from his family home. The brash third born Shelby brother and his fiery temper had been an integral part of Peaky Blinders since day one.
No sooner does Michael arrive before hay bales on an inconspicuous truck tumble away to reveal Mafia assassins; they proceed to gun Michael and John down in a hail of automatic gunfire before the audience’s jaws even have time to drop.
Viewers are left on an utterly nail biting cliffhanger. The motionless, bullet riddled bodies of two of the main characters give no reassuring indication as to whether either man is still alive. The next episode reveals that while Michael survived the encounter, John became the first victim of the vendetta.
A truly shocking scene that saw one of the mainstays of the series brutally blown away in the very first episode of a brand new season. Just as the audience is becoming reacquainted with brutal criminal world that the Blinders inhabit, the show runners ratchet the intensity levels up roughly 1000% without warning.
A truly unforgettable start to a new season, and an equally unforgettable character death.