Peaky Blinders seems to have nailed the golden rule that, despite being crowded with personalities, it never really feels as if a character has been introduced just for the sake of it. Everyone has their place and their role, which makes sorting the best from the worst exceedingly difficult.
But once you start to think about which characters endear themselves to the viewers the most, it soon becomes pretty clear which ones you want to stick around for a while, and which ones you wouldn't mind meeting their fate at the business end of a well-aimed .455 revolver.
Here, our definitive rankings: the best characters in Peaky Blinders history, and the worst.
#22 - May Carleton
There had to be an arc where Tommy displays some sort of emotion around Grace's death, but May stuck around for far too long after. Her being on the screen is a sign you probably have a few minutes to go and make a cup of tea.
#21 - Finn
We're ready for Finn to make his big breakout in this season now that Joe is out of the picture, and if he's as hesitant towards conflict as he showed in Season 4, he could actually prove pretty interesting. Right now though, he hasn't done enough of note to warrant a place any further up.
#20 - Billy Kimber
Probably the least intimidating villain in the show's history, and outmanoeuvred almost effortlessly by a Tommy Shelby with nearly none of the nous that he's displayed since. Thank god for Chester, otherwise it would have proven a pretty underwhelming first season.
#19 - Freddie Thorne
Vital to the plot of season 1 and a great way of painting a picture of the political climate of the time, but he was killed off way too early.
#18 - Jeremiah & Isaiah
Two more characters who've managed to prove himself indispensable to the Shelby clan while having all of about five actual lines of dialogue in the entire series. Still, it's nice to see him around whenever he's there.
#17 - Darby Sabini
Darby provided us the first taste of the Shelby's getting involved in more global, ethnic conflicts, and I'm so glad for it. His story took the story of the Peaky Blinders big, and that's been the key to its success.
#16 - Michael
Is Michael out-and-out the most useless Peaky Blinder? Probably, unless you want him to stab a priest. He's clearly got the gusto to 'make proper money,' but let's see if he's got the cojones to do much more now he's (presumably) healthy again.
#15 - Linda Shelby
Long simply a hindrance to the show's plot, she's now evolved from Arthur's pious wife into a character who not only draws out Arthur's more complex emotions, but realises the reality of the situation she's in. She still needs to show a bit more cunning though.
#14 - John
This seems a little harsh, but John is basically where the realm of ‘good characters’ begins here. John's intentions were noble, but he never proved really that pivotal or important to any of the Shelby gang's greater plans. Let's not forget that, at the age of nearly 30, he was still stupid enough to draw the ire of Luca Changretta when there was no real need to.
#13 - Curly
Who doesn't love Curly?
#12 - Jessie Eden
The badass communist Jessie Eden could actually end up as one of the best characters in the show, if she doesn't end up as yet another Tommy Shelby conquest. The forecast is looking dangerously that way, though.
#11 - Johnny Dogs
I think Johnny could be the most under-appreciated character in the show, and probably doesn't get enough credit as the glue in the Shelby/Gypsy rivalry that essentially makes the gang's dealings possible.
#10 - Lizzie
Lizzie's story is a fantastic one, and it's been great to see a genuine rags-to-riches story where someone blossoms from seemingly nothing. She actually seems the only one who can really withstand Tommy's smouldering gaze (well, from time to time anyway), too, which is refreshing considering the number of women in the show who seemingly hate him but end up jumping on that train anyway.
#9 - Polly
Polly's fine, and eventually comes good in every season when she shifts into badass 'save my family at all costs' mode, but often proves irritating in between. Who can forget the seemingly endless saga where she thought she could talk to ghosts?
#8 - Aberama Gold & Blondie
I actually really love Blondie's little story arc as the talented street boxer, and I honestly hope we get to see him as world champ one day. His dad is also masterfully played by Aidan Gillen and brings a fantastic air of cunning to proceedings.
#7 - Esme
The engine room behind pretty much everything John accomplished, she more often than not acted as the brains in the marriage when John was left wanting. So streetwise, it's a shame she didn't really get to display it more.
#6 - Tommy
The man with the plan, and the man behind it all. The story of his is, so often, the story of the Peaky Blinders themselves, but he often has a bit of a Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter about him. It gets tiring to go through the constant rigmarole of his many emotions, and sometimes you just need a rest, you know?
#5 - Alfie Solomons
Tom Hardy’s electric performance as Alfie Solomons has made the gangster by far one of the most popular characters in the entire show, and with good reason. Equal parts conniving and endearing, and Alfie perhaps distils the plucky gangster mentality of the show better than anyone else.
#4 - Chester Campbell
Without-doubt one of the best villains in the history of the series, Chester was the epitome of corruption and authoritative evil that Peaky Blinders desperately needed to differentiate itself from all the other crime shows that came before it.
#3 - Ada
I actually think Ada is the most competent Shelby of the lot, and so often ends up holding the family together. She's a calming presence, and surprisingly strong. When she arrives, you know everything is going to be okay.
#2 - Luca Changretta
The most compelling antagonist of the series so far, the story of Luca Changretta's vendetta against Tommy was masterfully told by Adrian Brody, who gave what was, for our money, the best performance in Peaky Blinders history. You almost wish he'd won.
#1 - Arthur
I've put Arthur on top here because so much of the show's emotionally resonant moments land through him. He's soft yet wildly unstable at times, and the delivery of his story arc often proves itself far more compelling than that of Tommy's eventually. To be Arthur is to be a Peaky Bloinder, in every sense of the name.