“Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, in conversation with PeakyBlinders.tv, shared that Tommy’s past had had a severe effect on his mind, and it was near impossible for him to escape it. He was shut down emotionally for a long time — and even though he fell in love and things changed for the better, tragedy has always awaited the character. Tommy became hard and brutal because he had seen the worst of humanity in the war, and he was “frozen inside,” as many who experience the trauma of war do, said Knight.
“During really horrific war situations, human beings change very quickly. Some part of the subconscious decides ‘If you’re going to survive, you’ve got to be like this’ so that’s who you become – hard and brutal and all of those things that happen to soldiers. When Tommy got back, he couldn’t stop that. He was frozen inside, like a lot of people who’ve suffered the trauma of war.”
Knight further explained how when Tommy met Grace (Annabelle Wallis) and fell in love with her, he allowed her presence to transform his life — even if momentarily. Her death knocked him back to the ground, hastening his mental downfall.