IF you are partial to a bit of John Hannah, then best clear your diary over the coming days because the actor is about to become a regular sight on our TV screens.

First up is The Victim, a gripping and twisty legal drama that begins tonight and will run over four consecutive evenings on BBC1. John plays DI Steven Grover, a seasoned police detective leading the criminal investigation into an attempted murder.

After that he is due to pop up in medical thriller, Trust Me, later this month. The second series features an entirely new cast from its debut offering with John, alongside Alfred Enoch, Richard Rankin and Ashley Jensen, replacing Jodie Whittaker, Sharon Small and Emun Elliott.

When we speak, John, 56, is making a flying visit to Glasgow with his teenage daughter to cheer her on in a swimming competition. Doing the proud dad thing? "Yeah," he says, sounding genuinely chuffed by the prospect of an afternoon at Tollcross pool.

The East Kilbride-born star, who lives in London, spent a fair bit of time in Scotland last year while filming the two shows. The Victim follows a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, covering the events leading up to the legal proceedings and the investigation headed by DI Grover.

The four-part drama looks set to polarise viewers and provoke strong emotions while sparking heated debate about whether children who kill should – or even can – be rehabilitated and given new identities. It also shines a spotlight on the darker side of social media.

"I don't know anything else that is going to make people come down on one side or the other," says John. "It is not just a couple of hours of entertainment. It will make people pick a side and potentially, after the first or second episode, possibly change their mind."

Boardwalk Empire and Trainspotting star Kelly Macdonald plays Anna Dean, a nurse whose nine-year-old son Liam was murdered 15 years earlier by another boy then known as Eddie J Turner. She is accused of revealing Turner's alleged new identity online and conspiring to have him murdered.

Quiet family man Craig Myers, played by upcoming Glaswegian actor James Harkness, is attacked and left for dead after a social media post claims that he is the notorious child murderer.

John is tight-lipped on any spoilers, although he clearly enjoyed the challenge of playing DI Grover, not least putting his own spin on the character in an attempt to move away from the TV trope of an investigating police officer who soaks up raw emotion like a sponge.

"When television detectives are in the middle of a drama, they are emoting away, feeling all the pain and hardship of everything they do and see," he says. "Whereas my experience is that everything they do and see can often make them inured to what they have to deal with on a daily basis."

He was conscious of not having DI Grover take sides nor "make assumptions about who is more right or wrong", but rather staunchly follow the letter of the law.

The Victim – which is set between Edinburgh and Port Glasgow – was filmed on location in the Scottish capital as well as Glasgow, Greenock, Gourock and Largs last summer. It was made by STV Productions for the BBC.

While John alludes to there being "quite a few high-profile cases that have been ongoing in our lifetime", he is careful to tread sensitively.

"The BBC are keen for us to be aware that nothing has particularly inspired it other than the legal system and its ability to deal with social media and how we all respond to that," he says.

Yet, it is impossible not to evoke echoes of several famous cases. A child killing another child sends shockwaves through society, as happened when toddler James Bulger was murdered by 10-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in 1993.

Another landmark case that remains seared in the public memory is 11-year-old Mary Bell who, in 1968, strangled two young boys "solely for the pleasure and excitement of killing".

There are mesmerising performances from all the lead cast in The Victim. What was it like for John working alongside Kelly and James?

"It was quite intense," he says. "There was a certain arms-length aspect about it, especially in terms of my character's relationship with Kelly [as grieving mother Anna].

"I don't mean being all method and not talking to each other or anything like that. But you know from experience when somebody has a deeply emotional thing to do, they are the ones who are there getting themselves in that hole.

"There is no point in me going up to talk to them about the football and this or that. You don't get all chatty. You give somebody the space to do what they need to do."

In Trust Me, which begins mid-April, John takes on the role as clinical lead Doctor Archie Watson. Set in the neurological unit of a Glasgow hospital, Alfred Enoch – who starred in Harry Potter and How to Get Away with Murder – plays Corporal Jamie McCain, a survivor of an ambush attack.

Recovering from a spinal injury which has left him temporarily paralysed, the soldier faces a new terrifying and unseen enemy as fellow patients on the ward die unexpectedly around him.

"It is an interesting thriller," says John. "There is a real style to this which I think is inspired a little bit by Hitchcock and Rear Window where they take that James Stewart character and put him flat on his back.

"They use his ears and the things he hears to start being suspicious about what is going on, which I think is a clever way of getting into a drama and into somebody's head. I have always felt that sound is never quite used enough.

"So, it was exciting to be part of something where it is the sound, those whispers and the things you can hear without seeing, that might be chasing and stalking you."

The Victim begins on BBC1, tonight, 9pm, and continues tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. Trust Me starts on BBC1, April 16, 9pm