If The Victim were a US production it would probably wind up as a vigilante thriller with a Hollywood star as an aggrieved parent out for justice.
But this BBC production is set in Edinburgh and consciously greys the lines between right and wrong, perpetrator and victim.
Kelly Macdonald stars as nurse Anna Dean, whose son was murdered at the age of 9, fourteen years before the action of this 4 part series. Still deeply affected by such trauma, she never felt justice was served when his teen killer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in juvenile prison.
When the action begins bus driver Craig Myers (James Harkness) is assaulted after a “Justice for Liam” campaign online pinpoints him as the killer now living in Port Glasgow with a new identity.
But DI Stephen Grover (John Hannah), who is yet to prove if Myers was the man released 7 years earlier, traces online evidence back to Anna’s home. Suddenly a mother enduring the loss of her child, is now complicit in an apparent revenge-attack.
Anna isn’t about to shirk from a fight, nor hide from media attention.
“I don’t ever want people to forget,” she insists.
The script by Rob Williams (The Man in the High Castle, Killing Eve, Chasing Shadows) juxtaposes the crime plot with the courtcase surrounding it, in flashback / forward scenes.
Also featuring are Karla Crome as Craig’s concerned wife Rebecca Myers, Joanne Thompson as DS Lisa Harvey and Isis Hainsworth as Anna’s daughter Louise, who is studying law and fights back against police enquiries.
Director Niall MacCormick, who clearly loves a hand-held camera, divides our sympathies between mother, assault victim and police. But be warned, the colloquial accents are thick on the ground.
Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah are the stand-outs here in a case where there are few winners.
The Victim airs 8:30pm Mondays on BBC First.