It’s always a pleasure to watch Sam Neillis on television since he’s simply so wonderful at being horrible. We know the guy has a diabolical itch to scratch from his roles as Damien Thorn in “The Omen: III” and the oh-so-sneaky Dr. William Weir in “Event Horizon.” The actor’s portrayal of Inspector Campbell became more complex when he joined the cast of Netflix’s “Peaky Blinders,” though.
Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, the protagonist of the first season, isn’t exactly what we’d call a good guy, as fans discovered while watching it. But Inspector Campbell, his foe, wasn’t either. Since he thought he was better than Tommy and his family, he caused essential friction when they faced off, especially when he used tactics similar to Tommy’s. In reality, he was merely deluding himself about his own superiority.
After his ward (and the woman he liked) picked Tommy over him at the conclusion of season 1, this complex character soured. In season 2, Campbell’s intrinsic sexism takes control and, in a character journey we can only describe as the epitome of masculinity so weak, rapes Polly, the matriarch of the Shelby family, sealing his doom. At this moment, Campbell had truly reached the end of his road, but the character’s narrative potential had also run its course. Therefore, the actor found it difficult to say goodbye when “Peaky Blinders” writer and creatorSteven Knight gave Neill the news that his time was over.
Time to say goodbye
When you’re an actor, getting the call can never be fun, especially if you’re very invested in the part. Sam Neill grappled with this after being fired from “Peaky Blinders.” Neill was a terrific guy to work with, but Steven Knight told Express.co.uk that he thought the character had reached its peak. Knight went on to say that during their phone chat, Neill had said, “I don’t want to die,” and the creator had attempted to buy him some time by promising he’d think about it. Needless to say, Knight ultimately contacted Neill back and confirmed that the character would actually need to go after waiting a while.
Fans have continued to speculate about his possible return despite his absence from the show, but that ship has sailed. Neill has nothing but positive things to say about the “Peaky Blinders” cast and crew, as he previously revealed to RadioTimes.com:
“I absolutely love ‘Peaky Blinders.’ I think Steve [Knight]’s writing is fantastic. I’m the biggest fan of Cillian [Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby] and Helen [McCrory] and Paul [Anderson, Arthur Shelby] I’m always happy to see them back and I kind of missed them.”
Even though his complex Inspector Campbell only spent a brief time on the show, Neill’s performance left a lasting impression. He therefore found it difficult to say goodbye, but he believes he did a pretty good job.