Speaking to Digital Spy, the former James Bond actor talked freely about his new co-star Miranda Raison, her predecessor from the "slightly puzzling" first series Lucy Punch, and his thoughts on a role in Downton Abbey.
So how have your character DI Jack Armstrong and Vexed itself changed for series two?
"The main thing is that I've got a new partner, Georgina, in Miranda Raison and that does change the dynamic quite a lot. It's a new chemistry between the two of us. In the first series it was great working with Lucy, but [the characters] were real opposites. You felt there was never ever going to be any real compromise between the two of them. I think there was only so far you could've gone with the original setup.
"I feel this gives much more potential to develop the characters and show the different sides of them. That is the main thing. Also, the first series was only three episodes. It was really hard to introduce what is a very unusual form for British TV... cramming this thing into three episodes. [What series two] allows is much more of a slow burn. It allows it to kind of ease the audience into their world. And then to slowly ramp up the comedy of it."
Does series one almost feel like a trial run now then?
"Yeah, it sort of does, although I really loved doing it. I had an enormous amount of fun. I certainly don't want to disown it because it was really great. We have been able to pick up on the weaknesses of the first three episodes and said we can do this a bit better or we can do that a bit better, and I think we've done that.
"We've really tightened it up and made it consistent. [Series one was] slightly inconsistent. There were really funny bits and then there were slightly puzzling bits. Whereas with the six episodes it's all kind of seamless."
Were you sort of surprised to get a second series of Vexed?
"I think the BBC loved the format. I think they liked the idea of a show that subverts police drama. For various reasons [series two] got delayed slightly. By the time [the BBC] said, 'OK we do want to pick this up', Lucy had got another job. So they had to move with it and I think that that shows that they really did want to do it. They were really willing to recast.
"It was quite a long process, recasting somebody, because it was like, 'We wanna get the right person, we wanna get the chemistry right'. We went through a lot of people before we decided on Miranda. We really got lucky with her."
That must feel huge to know the BBC have that kind of faith in the show.
"Yeah it is. I was really thrilled because I had an enormous amount of fun making the first series. I'm not done with this and I'm certainly not done with Jack. For me it was great to get more of a crack at it because I felt there was much more to be got out of him. I still feel there's more. I really hope that we get another series, because I just think it's a great format."
Do you think Vexed fans will take to Miranda like they did with Lucy?
"I think they will. I think what's great about Miranda's character is that both her and Jack on their own are useless, but together they actually make kind of a good team. She starts taking on some of Jack's attitude, and he starts taking on some of her. They are constantly surprising one another.
"There is a slight romantic feeling now. The audience should want them to get together. You kinda think, 'Come on, why can't you see?' But they would be horrified at the idea. So there's that kind of 'Will they won't they?' dynamic going on."
Do you think Jack and Georgina will get together?
"That's the end of the [show]. You want it constantly to be there, but it's a dynamic that has to work for the series to continue. If [a romance] happens, then you kind of ruin it. You sabotage it. But there definitely needs to be that kind of chemistry I think."
Which aspect of Vexed do you like most? Do you prefer the mystery side of it or do you like getting into the characters?
"The mysteries are almost secondary to [the characters'] lives and how they relate to each other. The plots are secondary to what they are. You just want to create a dynamic. You want an audience to hang out with these people a bit and enjoy their company."
You're obviously very taken with your character. How do you think you would cope if you were in Lucy's position and saw someone else play a role that was yours?
"I think what would've been awful is if they'd gone to Lucy, 'We're just going to do a Doctor Who with this. There's someone else playing your part'. I think that would've been really difficult. Also I think it would've been really difficult for Miranda, because what Lucy brings is so unique and fantastic.
"Whereas they've created a totally new character and a totally new relationship. For Miranda it makes it a lot easier and for the audience it makes it a lot easier. This is almost like starting again. You could start watching this and not have seen the first series, and you'd know exactly where you were."
You were also in the BBC production of Jane Eyre. It seems completely different to the rest of your TV and film work, did you find it challenging at all?
"The original book is a masterpiece and it's very personal to a lot of people. Many women sort of hold it dear. I was very lucky because I think we managed to do it service and I managed to play Rochester in a way that most of the people who were fans of the book liked. I wouldn't want to p*ss them off, there's a huge amount of them.
"Those sort of things are very gratifying to do. I think they are slightly overdone - they come up with great regularity and they can be slightly formulaic. Prior to doing Jane Eyre, they had been on a slide. There hadn't been any adaptations that had really made a mark, they were just sort of churning them out. I think Jane Eyre was successful because it made the characters very real.
"I think when they do break the mould and create a world that people find interesting and real, that's when they work. I think when they become just another generic period piece, it's a bit boring."
Would you be up for going back into period drama in something like Downton Abbey?
"I feel really happy doing the sort of stuff that I'm doing. I think I was too much related to the period piece. I'm glad to not be doing that at the moment. There may be something in the future where I'm sent something and I think, 'Wow, I have to do this, it's beautifully written'. But at the moment I'm happy not to be doing that.
"I've had some really great experiences in the last year. Doing comedy, doing serious stuff, doing sci-fi. I'm mixing it up and I like to keep it that way. It's much more fulfilling."
Vexed airs tonight (August 1) at 9pm on BBC Two.