Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Cillian Murphy still is having fun portraying the emotionally damaged, British gangster-turned-politician Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders.
"The quality of the writing keeps getting deeper and richer and more intriguing for me, so as long as that stays the way it is, I'm there. It's a complete gift," the 43-year-old, Irish actor told UPI in a recent phone interview.
Co-starring Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle and Aidan Gillen, Season 5 of the fictional crime drama is set to premiere on Netflix on Friday. It previously aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom during the summer.
The newest episodes take place in 1929 -- a historic time of political, social and financial turmoil -- but Murphy said the show isn't intended to reflect or comment on current events.
"We would never be didactic about this, but we will say, 'Look, if you need to see some resonance or draw some parallels between what's happening now and what was happening in the late 1920s, early '30s, that's great.' But you can still watch it for the explosions and the fights and the cool clothes, if you want," he laughed.
This season will see the introduction of a character based on real-life British fascist Oswald Mosley, played by Sam Claflin.
"When you watch and listen and observe Oswald Mosley, it's hard not to think twice about certain factions of certain political movements," Murphy said, acknowledging Peaky viewers in England already have remarked about Mosley's similarity to some contemporary world leaders.
Season 5 plays more like a political thriller than a gangster epic as post-traumatic stress disorder-stricken war veteran, crime lord and widower Tommy Shelby attempts to go legit as a Member of Parliament.
"Season 4 was more conventional," he said. "The threat was the American Mafia -- another gang, a better organized gang, whereas with this one, the threat is basically an ideology and also Tommy's own inner demons. It is far more nuanced and far more subtle, I think, in terms of what he is facing."
The fan-base for the British Academy of Film and Television Artists-winning show has increased steadily since its debut in 2013.
"I like that it has been 100 percent word of mouth. People tell other people to watch it and I'm very proud of that fact. It's not a show that is being hugely advertised and promoted. It's grown by virtue of, I hope, the quality of work," Murphy said. "They identify, for some weird reason, with these characters."
It's not just viewers who are attracted to the dangerous world of Peaky Blinders, with its complicated family members and their shady dealings. Well-known actors are lining up for guest spots and recurring roles on the series, too.
Season 4 featured the memorable arrival and swift murder of an Italian American mobster played by Oscar winner Adrien Brody, as well as the demise of the Jewish gang leader whom Tom Hardy (of Venom fame) played for three seasons.
Aidan Gillen joined the Shelby gang last season after his long-running stint on Game of Thrones ended. Gillen returns for Season 5, along with the core cast and Peaky newcomers Anya Taylor-Joy, Brian Gleeson, Elliot Cowan and Neil Maskell.
"It's always been so humbling for us that these actors want to play and be on the show. For me to get to work with them -- maybe for a moment, maybe for a long time -- it's a real treat," Murphy said.
Because each season is only six episodes, Murphy has the time to spend with his wife and two sons and the freedom to pursue other film and stage projects.
"It's intense when we make [Peaky Blinders], but it is only four months. This year, I was able to do a play and a movie and also be at home. It's kind of a relief that you have some time to explore other things and play other characters and, also, just be a dad."
Best known for his roles in Dunkirk, Red Eye, Inception, Girl with a Pearl Earring and the Dark Knight trilogy, the actor soon will be seen in the sci-fi/horror feature, A Quiet Place 2.
"I loved the first movie so much. I saw it in the cinema with my kid," Murphy said of the 2018 blockbuster, A Quiet Place. "It was a very intelligent film about family, which also smuggled in some stuff about aliens. So, I loved it, and I can tell you nothing about the second one."
Season 5 of Peaky Blinders premieres Friday on Netflix.