IF you enjoy watching an action-adventure series that echoes Indiana Jones movies, “Romancing the Stone”, “National Treasure” and even “Da Vinci Code”, you’d probably be delighted by CBS’ swashbuckling 13-episode series, “Blood & Treasure”, which has been renewed for a second season.
The show introduces new stars in the lead roles: Matt Barr as Danny McNamara, a lawyer who’s a former FBI agent and now also a brilliant expert on antiques, and Lexi Vaziri (Sofia Pernas), a sexy and slippery art thief. They used to be an item but they had a falling out. Now, they have no choice but to go globe-trotting together to track down an elusive and merciless terrorist, Karim Farouk (Oded Fehr), who finances his attacks on innocent people through stealing antiques that he then sells on the black market.
The series starts in an ancient Egyptian pyramid where a sealed vault turned out to be the long hidden tomb of famous lovers Antony and Cleopatra. The leader of the treasure-hunting team is archeologist Dr. Castillo (Alicia Coppola), but along comes terrorist Farouk, who steals her find and blows up the pyramid.
A billionaire businessman, Jay Reece (John Laroquette), wants to get back Antony and Cleopatra for the noble purpose of returning them to Egypt. which rightfully owns them. He asks Danny, who he sent to law school after his cop dad got imprisoned, to look for the missing treasure and he will shoulder all the expenses.
Danny teams up with Lexi who has lots of contacts in the black market. Running after them is a gorgeous Interpol agent, Gwen Karlsson (Katia Winter), who may or may not have been romantically linked with Danny before. The pair travels to various countries in pursuit of the mummies of Antony and Cleopatra in their gold sarcophagi using the private jets of their benefactor.
They encounter an ancient secret organization called Brotherhood of the Serapis (shades of the Illuminati from “Da Vinci’s Code”), corrupt officials in very high places, nefarious characters like an opportunistic arms dealer (Michael James Shaw) and an even more shadowy character with a deep dark secret, international smuggler James Hardwick (James Callis), plus many shocking twists and surprises as the narrative further enfolds. And yes, there’s also a very liberal priest in the Vatican, Father Chuck (Mark Gagliardi), who helps them a number of times.
The episodes are introduced by big maps that show significant flashback scenes, all the way back to World War II when it turned out that the Nazis were the first to track down Cleopatra’s tomb and took it all over to Casablanca, Spain and Germany. In between, we see Danny and Lexi engaging in banter, petty quarrels and also falling for each other all over again.
For the expected action set pieces, we are treated to many chase scenes by car and by foot, a lot of explosions, fight scenes on a moving truck, inside a train and an airplane, The show employs both jokey camp and seriousness, mixing in some drama about an abandoned son neglected by his long lost dad and who now wants revenge at all cost.
Don’t take it too seriously and you’ll have fun as the production values are definitely way above average. We just feel that they’re stretching some situations unnecessarily just so they can fill out 13 one-hour episodes or one season. The story can actually be told in less than half of that, and with much faster pacing.
Matt Barr and Sofia Pernas can be sexy on their own but, unfortunately, they do not have much of a chemistry when they’re together. There’s not much of a spark or crackle when they’re flirting with each other. Barr really looks more like a GQ model while Pernas lacks that fiery sultriness that would make her truly appealing like the young Sofia Loren of yore.