Blood & Treasure Series Premiere Review: The Curse of Cleopatra

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This adventure series has "fun summer watch" written all over it.

A former FBI agent and his art-thief ex reluctantly team up to solve the mystery of the tomb of Antony and Cleopatra on Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 1 and Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 2.

Who would have thought that the male lead of Valor and a female supporting character from The Brave, both of which lost the military-series battle to SEAL Team a season ago, would have such great chemistry together?

Divisive Duo -- Tall - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 1

Matt Barr showed promise in the former while Sofia Pernas was largely buried in the latter.

But Blood & Treasure promises to have breakout roles for both, assuming that viewers have learned that summer television fare, even on broadcast networks, is worth their time.

Antiquities Expert - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 1

Barr plays Danny McNamara, who Pernas's character Lexi Vaziri correctly labeled a Boy Scout. He had been an FBI agent, but moved to the private sector, becoming an arts-antiquities expert at his one-man international law firm.

Lexi is an art thief, staying just ahead of law enforcement in several countries.

Yup, it's once again opposites attracting.

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As the debut reveals, Danny and Lexi have history. Just not good history.

Two years previously, Danny helped capture Lexi.

They became a couple, and then Lexi and Danny convinced her father, Reza, to help them capture Karim Farouk (Oden Fehr, once again pigeonholed as a terrorist), who sells art to fund terrorism.

Hatching a Plan - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 1

Farouk had a mole and avoided a trap. Then, after the feds moved Reza and his business to New York, Farouk blew up both.

That, understandably, ruined Danny and Lexi's relationship, since Danny failed to keep her father safe. She fell back into her illegal habits and he left the FBI.

But fate brought them back together two years later.

Fate, in this case, was Farouk -- who (surprise!) was thought to have been killed by authorities -- and his henchmen.

On an expedition funded by billionaire Jay Reece (the always enjoyable John Larroquette), Danny's mentor Professor Anna Castillo (Alicia Coppola) discovered the final resting place of Antony and Cleopatra inside an Egyptian tomb.

But Farouk's troops invaded, robbing the tomb of Antony's sarcophagus and other antiquities, abducting Anna before killing her crew and blowing up the pyramid.

Back From the Dead - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 2

Anna earlier discovered that Nazi troops had stolen Cleopatra's sarcophagus during World War II and its location remained unknown.

Jay strong-armed Danny into helping him to find out what had happened to the tomb and to Anna. Danny in turn insisted on recruiting Lexi, because, well, it takes a thief, to cop from Hitchcock.

Danny needed Lexi's contacts on the dark side of arts dealing in order to track the missing Egyptian antiquities and indirectly Anna.

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Re-partnering with Lexi had the unfortunate effect of making those in international law enforcement, such as Danny's former compatriot Interpol Agent Gwen Karlsson (Katia Winter), suspicious of his intentions, since he kept turning up in the wrong places at the wrong time.

The real wild card in this series is looking to be Aiden Shaw, who was serving as the seller of the Egyptian antiquities for Farouk.

He knows where the bodies are buried. Also, since Farouk tried to put him in the ground, he might be more amenable to helping Danny and Lexi, especially since Jay met the fee he demanded.

Seeking Escape Funds - Blood & Treasure

Plus it never hurts to have another conman around.

It appeared that Lexi was starting to remember what she liked about Danny, as she seemed to be getting past blaming him for her father's death.

They did work well together, with Danny trying to rein in Lexi while she tried to push him outside his legal comfort zone. Fortunately, with Jay's money behind them, they can get away with some extralegal manuevers.

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However, Lexi is a hothead. That was proven when she found out that Farouk was still alive, and she abandoned Danny, unsuccessfully chasiing after Farouk while Danny, Aiden, and Anna fought for their lives in an oxygen-deprived vault.

So far, Lexi is taking Danny over to the dark side. How else can you explain their jumping out of an airplane to escape from Interpol to continue their search for Aiden?

My favorite character so far has to be wiseass Father Chuck (Mark Gagliardi), who openly questioned his buddy Danny's involvement with Lexi based on his awareness of the couple's colorful past. Still, he was there for Danny, obstructing law enforcement while Danny and Lexi made their escape via secret Vatican tunnel.

Help From Above - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 2

Father Chuck is part of the regular cast, although it's not clear what his role will be in Danny's mission beyond friend and maybe conscience.

Another character who remains shadowy is Simon Hardwick (James Callis, Battlestar Galactica), who described himself as an art procurer. He too seemed right at home in the black-market art world.

This is definitely a mashup of "Indiana Jones" and "The Da Vinci Code" and the writers didn't pretend otherwise, giving shoutouts to their influences throughout the premiere.

But archaeological adventures and conspiracy theories have sold as popular entertainment for decades, as long as they're well done. So far on Blood & Treasure, they've been well executed.

Captive Professor - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 2

These first two episodes did a great job of leaving many questions unanswered.

For instance, how could the world's intelligence agencies not know that Farouk was alive? Also, what is he planning?

Where is Cleopatra's sarcophagus, and is the Italian cop, Sabi, part of the ancient cult that has been guarding it?

Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV

Is there some mystical power that's generated when Cleopatra and Antony's sarcophagi come together, and is that Farouk's end game?

How much more does Anna know than she's saying?

Don't come late to the party for this series, as it's pure serialization. Blink and you will fall behind.

International Law - Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 2

Of course, you can always just watch Blood & Treasure online if case you miss something.

How do you like the pace of Blood & Treasure?

How do you think Danny and Lexi work together?

Which other characters do you like?

Comment below.

The Curse of Cleopatra -- Part I Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Blood & Treasure Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Danny: You should call the FBI.
Jay: I would if you still worked there.

Danny, there's no one better at tracking blood antiquities than you.

Jay [to Danny]