Imagine taking Indiana Jones, but substituting the sarcophagus of Cleopatra for the Ark of the Covenant. Then add a dash of The Da Vinci Code, with its secret societies and answers found in musty old books. Now place the whole thing in present-day with two absurdly attractive heroes, and watch for 12 episodes. It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
But if it sounds like fun, this crazy concoction does indeed exist. Last summer, Blood & Treasure aired on CBS and is still available to subscribers on Amazon Prime.
In the opening scene, an archeological team finds Antony and Cleopatra’s tomb in the Great Pyramid, but Cleopatra’s sarcophagus is missing and the bodies of two long-dead Nazis indicate that they aren’t the first to discover the tomb. Before the researchers can even get started, they are attacked by terrorists who kill most of them (off-camera); kidnap the leader, Dr. Ana Castillo (Alicia Coppola); and set off explosive charges in the ancient monument. Yes, the Great Pyramid is blown up in the first five minutes.
Danny McNamara (Matt Barr), a former FBI agent and expert in ancient antiquities, is asked by his wealthy benefactor Jay Reece (John Larroquette) to find and rescue Dr. Castillo. But in order to do so, Danny needs the help of expert thief and old flame Lexi Vaziri (Sofia Pernas). The straight-laced Danny objects to Lexi’s methods every step of the way as they travel from one exotic location and dangerous situation to the next, often pursued by Interpol agent Gwen Karlsson (Katia Winter).
Each episode must be tremendously expensive to make, as the globetrotting duo seem to really be in these far-off locations. Even in the show’s quiet moments are glamorous in a way rarely seen on television.
Bickering at every turn, Danny and Lexi manage to find and rescue Dr. Castillo, but there’s a twist: the terrorist who took her is Karim Farouk (Oded Fehr), an enigmatic mastermind everyone thought dead. He funds his activities through stolen antiquities and kills Lexi’s father out of spite. Determined to avenge her father, Lexi sets off to find Farouk, while Danny goes along to uncover what Cleopatra has to do with anything and stop Lexi from murdering Farouk.
Later they find that they and Farouk aren’t the only ones looking for Cleopatra. A secret society also wants her for their own reasons, and Lexi may have a deeper connection to them than she realizes.
The rest of the series is filled with twists and turns, crosses and double-crosses, and misdirects galore. If you can’t keep track of them, that’s okay. In a few minutes, there will be another gunfight, chase, or some other thrill to distract you from the convoluted craziness. While not everyone’s cup of tea, Blood & Treasure is guileless, old-fashioned adventure with no agendas to push or messages to promote.
While the central mystery is wrapped up by the end of the season, Danny and Lexi will return for a second season next summer. (CBS Television Studios/Amazon Prime)