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'Blood & Treasure' Is Not the Summer Gem CBS Is Hoping For
May 21, 2019  | By David Hinckley  | 3 comments
 

If you’re in the mood for a whirlwind travelogue of exotic upscale destinations, mostly in Europe and the Middle East, CBS’s Blood & Treasure is your new summer show.

You should be aware, though, that the travelogue is sporadically interrupted by a plot.

Blood & Treasure, which premieres Tuesday with a two-hour episode at 9 p.m. ET, mashes together a half-dozen TV genres into what CBS clearly envisions as a fast-paced, humor-laced action-adventure series in which the good guys sometimes stretch the rules – wink, wink – in pursuit of the bad guys.

The main bad guy is Karim Farouk (Oded Fehr, right). It will surprise exactly no one that he’s a Middle Eastern terrorist planning a major attack on the West.

What distinguishes him from his fellow Middle Eastern terrorists on shows from Homeland to The Enemy Within is his financial strategy. He steals rare antiquities and funds his agenda by selling them on the black market.

In the opposite corner, we have Danny McNamara (Matt Barr, top) and Lexi Vazin (Sofia Pernas, top).

He’s a former FBI agent turned private investigator. When we meet him, he’s convincing a legitimate auction house owner that instead of selling a Vermeer for $30 million, he should return it to the family from whom the Nazis looted it during World War II.

Lexi has no such moral center. She’s more partial to lucrative high-end cons. She and Danny used to be an item, but that hit a bad patch when Farouk blew up her father at a time when Danny, then in the FBI, had assured everyone the father was under secure protection.

Now, three years later, Danny has been recruited by the ultra-rich Jay Reece (John Larroquette) to rescue Dr. Anna Castillo (Alicia Coppola), whom Reece had hired to find the long-lost tomb of Antony and Cleopatra.

Unfortunately, Farouk got there at the same time and made off with one of the most important items. He also made off with Dr. Castillo.

Danny persuades Lexi to help him in the hunt for both, though she has spent the last three years being furious with him. She’s sold only by his assurance that this time they will get Farouk.

Blood & Treasure revolves around that search, sort off. Perhaps because the first season will run 13 episodes, it injects more than a few side attractions along the way.

For starters, we get time jumps more frequently than teenagers check their phones. That includes scenes of actual Nazi looting, with a mystical subtext that could have come out of The Librarians or Warehouse 13.

Perhaps to give the series an exotic flavor, the characters also travel the world. Switzerland, Monaco, Egypt, Paris, New York. At one point, Lexi explains to Danny that there is a $400 T-shirt because rich people like to feel wealth around them. Blood & Treasure uses high-end locations like a $400 T-shirt so we can feel the world of the elite around us.

The elite don’t come off all that well, by the way. Among other things, they seem to be morally challenged. Imagine that.

In addition, several characters who might seem integral to the plotline turn out to have an inner joker.  

Aiden Shaw (Michael James Shaw) plays a black market middleman who comes out of a near-fatal poisoning attempt by immediately trying to hit on a woman who asks if he’s okay.

Father Chuck (Mark Gagliardi), one of those ultra-helpful incidental contacts that good guys always seem to have, conveniently, comes across as a standup comic wearing black vestments.

Then we have Danny and Lexi. Total non-spoiler alert: They just might still care for each other. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Moonlighting, Castle, The Mentalist, The Catch or better yet the recent short-lived Whiskey Cavalier will not be shocked by the body language of Barr and Pernas.

The art expertise angle here also calls to mind the wonderful White Collar. Blood & Treasure isn’t quite as extraordinary, though some of the banter between cops and criminals has the same bemused touch.

In the end, Blood & Treasure may offer more pleasures in the small moments than in the main storyline, since to be honest, most of us probably didn’t even know Antony and Cleopatra had been missing, and Farouk doesn’t stand out from the last 50 or 60 Middle Eastern terrorists that TV investigators have hunted down.

CBS itself is still hunting for the summer event show that will recapture the buzz of Under the Dome a few years ago. Blood & Treasure probably isn’t that elusive find.

 
 
 
 
 
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3 Comments
 
 
Karen
DID NOT LIKE THIS SHOW. It is very unrealistic and stupid.
May 22, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Anna Marie Fee
It really amuses me that after watching this for about 15 minutes, I said this makes me think MacGyver meets the Librarian. Then I start searching and find that there are really Librarian connections. I claim no TV or film expertise.
May 22, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Anna Marie Fee
Fe
May 22, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
 
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