The Peaky Blinders stars lost one of their own both on an off screen. The show’s final season — which premiered via Netflix on Friday, June 10 — killed off Polly Gray in the first episode, following actress Helen McCrory‘s April 2021 death following a battle with cancer. Keep reading to find out how the show addressed the British star’s passing. 

Does Polly Gray Die in Peaky Blinders Season 6?

The short answer is, yes. The show’s final season starts with a heartbreaking revelation from Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), who finds the body of his most trusted confidant.

How Did Polly Gray Die?

Following the events in season 5, which ended with her resignation from the Shelby Company, Polly got taken out by the IRA as a message to Tommy.

“We’ve made changes to the structure of your organization,” IRA member Captain Swing (Charlene McKenna) told Tommy. “You’ve had a crutch to lean on, we kicked away that crutch. From now on it’ll be us you lean on.”

They honored the character — and actress — with a heartfelt memorial scene that ended with Polly’s son, Michael Gray (Finn Cole) promising to avenge her death.

Peaky Blinders
Robert Viglasky/Netflix

What Did the Cast Say?

Following Helen’s death, the cast spoke at length about the impact that she left on the series. Finn, for one, shared a message with fans via Instagram Stories in April 2021 following the news of her death.

“I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but I just wanted to get a quick message out there about the late Helen McCrory. For those of you who don’t know, she played my mom in Peaky Blinders for the last few years, Polly Gray,” the Animal Kingdom star told followers. “Those of you who’ve seen it know that she was the life and soul of that show. She was also someone that I thank for a lot of the success in my career, the lessons she taught me onscreen and off screen, she pulled a performance out of me that I didn’t even think I was capable of and that’s credit to what a talent she was. She was witty, classy and just really f–kg cool. Far too young and beautiful to play my mother.”

Cillian wrote an obituary for his late costar, which was published in U.K.’s The Guardian in December 2021.

“Helen had this genuine compassion,” he shared, in part. “It was part of her DNA. She wasn’t an actor who turned up, did the gig and went home. All the way through Peaky Blinders, she would chat to members of the crew as well as the actors. She knew everyone’s name. It’s a huge collaboration making a series like that and it’s easy to think it’s only about the actors, but she was always very aware of the collective aspect of what we do.”

He also confirmed that she would have been in the final season if it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic. “We were just five days away from shooting in March 2020 when the lockdown was announced,” the Batman Begins actor wrote.

“Helen was the heart of that show and it was hard to make it without her. Really hard,” he concluded. “There was this huge absence on the set. We all felt it. She died while we were shooting. She was too young. You can’t help but think of all the amazing roles she would have had.”

Peaky Blinders‘ final season is now streaming on Netflix.