If you’re looking for hours of fun, put Blood & Treasure at the top of your watch list.
Created by Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, Blood & Treasure follows antiquities expert Danny McNamara (Matt Barr) and thief Lexi Vaziri (Sofia Pernas) as they go treasure hunting around the world. Season 1 saw the duo searching for the sarcophagi of Antony and Cleopatra in order to stop a ruthless terrorist. Season 2 will set Danny and Lexi on a course to find the Spirit Banner of Genghis Khan as it turns up the dial on adventure to bring the summer blockbuster experience to television.
Blood & Treasure takes viewers around the world — the first season saw Danny and Lexi traveling across Europe, Morocco, and the Caribbean — and each episode had a distinct adventure, whether it was following a clue to Casablanca while evading Interpol or tracking a paranoid former Nazi hunter to Poland. “There was that aspect of our show that was always supposed to be a blockbuster,” Pernas tells EW. Over the course of the two years it took to shoot season 2, the team has traveled across three continents to create Danny and Lexi’s new adventure. “If you see us walking through the jungle, it’s a real jungle. If you see us standing in front of the Vatican, we’re actually standing there,” Scaia says.
The show’s storytelling is a fantastic mix of history and fiction. “Our rule is we don’t make up any history that is already known,” Federman says. “When it’s a part we don’t know about, that’s where we can make up whatever we want.” In the first season, Antony and Cleopatra are well-known historical figures, but the location of the tombs is unknown. Hidden treasure from the past means secrets, and this show is full of enough intrigue to dazzle any history buff. “We’re all massive Indiana Jones fans, and what everyone loves about it is the way history played into the fiction,” Pernas shares. Danny was surprised to learn the Nazis had contact with the sarcophagi, and that revelation changed the course of their investigation with the show depicting events in the 1940s to show the events of the past. Filling in those gaps was where Scaia and Federman got to play; part of that was introducing secret society The Brotherhood of Serapis. They became the organization that was actively looking for Antony and Cleopatra, and initially moving them.
With the formula for the story down, season 2 came together after they decided to head to Asia for a story about Genghis Khan. “We came across the Spirit Banner and it fit perfectly into our world because it has something beyond being an object,” Federman explains. The Spirit Banner of Genghis Khan was believed to hold his soul, so it was sought after by Hitler and Stalin. Their pursuit and its meaning gives the banner historical and cultural value. “When Danny and Lexi are looking for something, they’re running over someone else’s tracks already,” Federman says. But it’s unknown what happened to it after it was stolen by the Soviets, and that’s where Blood & Treasure gets to create a fictional path for Danny and Lexi. “Following this journey feels a little more true to the vein of what we are, which is an adventure show,” Pernas says about the hunt for the Spirit Banner of Genghis Khan in season 2.
Another piece the show will play with is the elusive Vatican Intelligence. Very little is known about the organization, but it is something that exists. You can even Google it. “When Vatican Intelligence comes up, both of our eyes light up, so we were both excited about it,” Federman says. How they show up is yet to be seen, but we do know that there was contact between the CIA and the Vatican during the Cold War.
Blood & Treasure fills its world with larger-than-life characters we love to watch, and that starts with Danny and Lexi. Their chemistry is palpable and their banter is always enticing. Watching them bicker as they evade Interpol, work together to solve a puzzle, or passionately debate (or argue) about the best plan is part of the excitement. “In season 1, she is breaking down her walls of mistrust and then in season 2, she is building up her walls of trust,” Pernas says about Lexi’s relationship with Danny.
One source of their clashing is Lexi’s less-than-legal approach to problem solving. The show begins with Lexi and Danny’s reunion, where her tactics frustrate him. For Pernas, that’s part of the fun. “I could definitely play with her and push those boundaries a little,” she says about the role she calls “a dream.” Some of that rubs off on Danny, according to the actress.
Blood & Treasure‘s supporting characters — the elusive Simon Hardwick (James Callis), the charming arms dealer Aiden Shawn (Michael James Shaw), and the funniest priest around, Father Chuck (Mark Gagliardi) — also bring plenty of levity to the show. Where other shows would make Aiden a tough-as-nails criminal, Blood & Treasure gives us a kind-hearted and sweet man who knows a whole lot about weapons. Similarly, Father Chuck — was inspired by person from Scaia’s own Catholic high school in Ohio — works at the Vatican, but breaks conventional thought about what a man like him should be like.
In line with creating a summer blockbuster on TV, Blood & Treasure season 2 is a sequel new fans can jump right into. “You don’t need to have watched season 1 to understand [the new season]. It’s a whole new adventure, but one that is bigger and better than season 1,” Scaia explains. New to all fans this season is that Danny and Lexi will not be working closely with the authorities on this adventure. “It was way more interesting to have them in their own investigation for personal reasons instead of having to chase a bad guy for law enforcement,” Scaia teases.
Blood & Treasure airs Sundays on Paramount+.
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