The 59-year-old actor stars in Murderland - alongside Lucy Cohu and Sharon Small - as a detective investigating a murder which has remained unsolved for 15 years.
"It was intensely emotional - and it was designed to be intensely emotional," he told Radio Times.
Describing the three-part series, in which he plays Detective Inspector Douglas Hain, he added: "First of all, it's not a police procedural. Douglas Hain is - or was - a policeman, and there are a lot of policemen about.
"But mainly what policemen do is explain the shortcomings of police procedure. It's not one of those 'Get Wilkins round there now and I want every f*cking DNA in the whole estate...' shows."
Murderland begins Monday at 9pm on ITV1.