TO BE honest, the very idea of watching a TV series with the central plot line being the vigilantism which results from a historical child killing seemed uncomfortable to the point of being painful.

How can you embrace a storyline, even if set in Edinburgh and Port Glasgow and not think of the Jamie Bulger horror of 1993, a little boy murdered by two children later released with new identities?

The Victime (BBC1, MONDAY) attempts to blur the comparison by opening up on Halloween, in an ordinary house in an ordinary town. But the skeleton figure who arrives at the door of young father Craig Myers (James Harkness) isn’t there for a tangerine and a few mini Mars Bars. He’s there to kill the man who has been named on the internet as the man who once killed and tortured a young boy.

Myers is almost killed by the man in the mask, and a police investigation leads us to Anna Dean (Kelly Macdonald).the mother of the dead boy. Did she tip off the vigilante?

The drama intends us to ask who is the victim, to conflict the viewer. Is it the mum who has lost her son or the ‘innocent’ young father who finds his head being repeatedly rammed by his own front door?

Pushing aside the obvious comparisons with the Bulger case however, it was difficult to become immersed in the storyline. We were treated to so much expositional dialogue to convey the horror of the original attack you had the feeling the writer has been storing it up in case Brexit left the country facing a serious shortage.

Much of writing was clunkier than a ball and chain around the ankle of a six-year-old – such as the all-too-obvious attempt to connect Anna’s daughter boyfriend in some way; was he acting as her proxy? It was hard not to see the red herring planted before our very eyes when at one point he places an uninvited hand on Anna’s shoulder. It didn’t ring true. As we all know, this can be perceived to be a criminal act in itself these days.

This a drama that tried to sell itself to hard, but the closer you get to the edge of Bulger reality the further you want to step back. Vigilantism can of course be seductive when served up in fictional form; who doesn’t love Batman, or Dexter or Liam Neeson revenge films (before he committed professional suicide).

But there’s a real challenge facing television writers when it comes to setting the crime in a world that’s a little more real.

Some performances were solid however. John Hannah looked uncomfortable (in a good way) as he played the arresting cop with a conscience who can’t seem to shake off the Weinstein-like shadow following him around. James Harkness is terrifically convincing as the gentle father/monster? and Kelly Macdonald does great impassive acting, although the director wouldn’t have been out of line if he had suggested a few more eye twitches.

The producers of Scot Squad (BBC2, Thursday), should be having a re-think right now. When a comedy show starts to invite special guest stars to make an appearance, there’s a real concern that we’re about to see some serious shark jumping.

So it proved with the addition of Lorraine Kelly in this otherwise very funny series. Whoever brought in Kelly hasn’t recognised that Scot Squad audiences are very different from those who buy into the multi-millionairess’s morning performances of the “I’m just an ordinary woman” role.

Here’s the thing; Lorraine Kelly can clearly act, but she isn’t an actress. We see enough of her in the morning and her continually broadcast home furnishings television ads. Instead, keep Scot Squad fresh and please encourage young, hopeful (skint) comedy actors instead. No more celebs, cheesy or otherwise.

Kate Beckinsale can act, but what was she doing in The Widow, (ITV, Monday). Even her swishy pony tail failed to look real.

And what is it with television drama writers’ reliance upon storylines about missing partners? Why do women keep losing husbands? Don’t get me wrong, the BBC’s Keeping Faith was excellent (a new series is on the way) and when the notion was gender reversed with ITV’s Strangers it proved a decent watch.

But when Kate Beckinsale’s Georgia Wells set off to Africa to find the husband presumed dead the past three years, the warnings of a dead script were sounded from the off.

The family friend played by Charles Dance actually warned her off going in search of hubs with the line; “You’re trying to climb K2 in a thunderstorm, because that’s who you are.”

Soon, we were in scary Africa, with bombs going off and lots of scared people running around, but none so scared, you’d imagine, as writers Harry and Jack Williams on realising they’d come come up with a Congo-sized turkey.