Birmingham, 1919. Thomas Shelby controls the Peaky Blinders, one of the city's most feared criminal organizations, but his ambitions go beyond running the streets. When a crate of guns goes missing, Thomas recognizes an opportunity to move up in the world.
The Shelby’s have a family meeting, where Arthur presents information about a copper recruiting Protestant Irishmen to come to Birmingham as Special police men to clean up the city.
At a church, Polly Gray pressures Thomas until he finally tells her about how his men accidentally acquired the wrong crate during a routine pick-up, instead taking a crate that contained Lewis machine guns, ammunition, semi-automatic rifles, and pistols with shells. Polly tells Thomas to dump the machine guns before he gets hanged for having them.
Grace Burgess enters The Garrison Pub and talks to Harry Fenton, the landlord, about a job posting. At first Harry turns her down, but Grace sings part of a song (the Irish ballad “I wish I was in Carrickfergus”) that wins him over.
Arthur Shelby goes to the cinema with two women, but gets captured by policemen and taken to Chief Inspector Campbell. Campbell asks Arthur what he knows about the robbery, and beats him when Arthur does not give him the answers he wants.
Grace and Harry help serve a full house of men on their way to a football game. Grace meets Thomas for the first time, and brings him a bottle of rum on the house. Harry warns her to stay away from him.
The Shelby family helps patch Arthur up. Arthur tells Thomas that Campbell said Winston Churchill sent him to Birmingham on a case of national interest related to a robbery. Campbell told Arthur that he wants the Peaky Blinders to help him. Thomas says nothing, which irritates Arthur.
In his bedroom, Thomas pours brown opium into his pipe and lights a match. He puts flame to the opium and draws. He dreams an old memory of himself, Freddie and Danny in the tunnels during the War, trying to listen in behind a wall, before they get attacked. He wakes, looks out the window and sees two policemen walking down the street.
At Charlie Strong’s Yard, Thomas decides to keep the guns.
Mr. Campbell meets Grace at the statue room of a museum, proving that she is an agent of the Crown. It is revealed that Grace’s father, an officer, was killed by the IRA, and that at some point, Campbell had worked with him.
The two Italians that had witnessed Danny Whizz-Bang murdering a waiter in Little Italy watch with satisfaction as Thomas kills Danny. A boat with Charlie Strong in it comes up and Danny falls into it.
Danny wakes up under a canal tunnel, still on the boat with Charlie Strong. Thomas had only shot a shell full of sheep brains at the back of Danny’s head. Charlie tells him they are heading to London, because Thomas has a job for Danny to do there. He tells Danny that he is a member of the Peaky Blinders now.
Polly asks Thomas if he got rid of the guns, and Thomas lies and tells her that he did. In a final scene, Grace and Thomas see each other while Thomas is walking outside The Garrison Pub, and he continues walking down the street.
- In the opening scene on the train with Inspector Campbell, he's looking over Arthur and Thomas's rap-sheet, where they are charged as a racketeer. The term racketeer was not introduced until 1925 in the U.S.
- John Shelby: "Yeah but we ain’t IRA. We bloody fought for the King."
- Polly Shelby: "This family does everything open. You have nothing more to say to this meeting, Thomas?"
- Thomas Shelby: "No, nothing that’s women’s business."
- Polly Shelby: "This whole bloody enterprise was women’s business while you boys were away at war. What’s changed?"
- Thomas Shelby: "We came back."
- Polly Shelby: "You have your mother’s common sense but your father’s devilment. I see them fighting. Let your mother win."
- Arthur Shelby: “What the fuck? Who the fuck are you? I’m Arthur fucking Shelby!"
- Thomas Shelby (to Grace Burgess): "Are you a whore? Because if you’re not, you’re in the wrong place."
- John Shelby: "You went to one first aid class in the church hall and got thrown out for giggling."
- Ada Shelby: "Not before I learned how to stop somebody from choking."
- Arthur Shelby: "I’m not bloody choking, am I?"
- Ada Shelby: "You will be when I wrap this cloth around your neck."
- Arthur Shelby (to Thomas Shelby): "What’s wrong with you? What the fuck is wrong with him lately?"
- Polly Shelby: "If I knew I’d buy the cure from Compton’s Chemists."