Few actors can convey both whimsy and menace like Hugh Laurie. He was recently seen in the caustic satire “Veep” and as a vile arms merchant in “The Night Manager.” Over the years, most people came to know him as the prickly and damaged doctor on Fox’s “House,” but he got his start in U.K. comedies.

He returns tonight in the “Masterpiece” (8 p.m., PBS) four-part political drama “Roadkill.” He’s Peter Laurence, a member of the cabinet beloved by many for his modest business background, the fact that he’s not from the same old Eton crowd and his populist touches like appearances on talk radio.

He’s first seen just barely avoiding scandal by going to court to challenge charges that he was out to privatize the U.K.’s beloved National Health Service and sell it to American billionaires. As he resumes his place in cabinet, he has no idea that scandal is about to engulf him once again. Laurence displays impatience with underlings that just may prove to be his undoing.

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