If you think the antiques business is a fusty old snooze, you haven't seen Lovejoy. Played by Ian McShane (Deadwood), the show's eponymous character based on the novels of Johnathan Gash, is a rakish antique dealer gifted at sorting the real from the fakes. Which should help, given the shady, dangerous nature of his business, one where certain collectors would kill for the perfect set of antique pistols-quite literally. It's a wild, unregulated world flooded with aristocrats, con men, and criminals, all of whom Lovejoy goes up against with the help of his young, mopey assistant Eric (Chris Jury, The Big Game) and Lady Jane (Phyllis Logan, Downton Abbey), a uppercruster who serves as his confidante. Of course, it would be a shame if "one of television's most charming and appealing characters" (The Washington Post) didn't use his wiles to sell a worthless painting or two to the occasional chump. But Lovejoy would be wise to practice caution-charisma can only go so far. 10 episodes, 8¾ hours, 3 DVDs, SDH.
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Episode 1: The Firefly Cage
Lovejoy is outbid at an auction by a mysterious woman who later visits him and elicits his help in deciphering a riddle from an antique. When she decides to end the investigation, Lovejoy keeps digging.
Episode 2: The Axeman Cometh
At a rural auction, Lovejoy covets a valuable Welsh dresser but must trick the other antique scouts into thinking it's rubbish. Although his plan succeeds, he may regret the deception-the dresser turns out to be a lot more trouble than it's worth.
Episode 3: The Sting
When an auctioneer suddenly drops out at the last minute, Gimbert recruits Lovejoy to preside over a number of sales-which, of course, Lovejoy uses to his advantage. But the trickery has only begun, as Lovejoy must find a way to retrieve the antiques that a former drug addict sold for cash.
Episode 4: Friends, Romans and Enemies
Severely late on his rent, Lovejoy is threatened by an inebriated Gimbert. To make amends, Lovejoy agrees to comb through the remnants of a deceased man's house for Gimbert. It's a tedious job, but what he eventually finds there proves intriguing.
Episode 5: The Judas Pair
A man is murdered for a pair of pistols that, up until this point, have only been considered legendary. The dead man's brother then seeks out Lovejoy, who reluctantly agrees to investigate.
Episode 6: To Sleep No More
One of Lovejoy's friends, an elderly man who makes exquisite forgeries, stumbles onto a busy cricket field, collapses, and dies. No foul play is suspected until his widow visits Lovejoy, claiming that a precious snuffbox her husband left to her was stolen.
Episode 7: The Real Thing
Lady Jane gets involved with a suave but shady entrepreneur who has a dubious plan to open up a new art-deco antiques house. Elsewhere, a couple takes to scamming shop clerks with a painterly one-two punch.
Episode 8: The March of Time
At a bereavement sale, Lovejoy makes a trade for an old clock. His instincts about the relic are right-what appear to be early 19th-century love letters are discovered hidden in its base. But proving their authenticity is another story.
Episode 9: Death and Venice, Part One
Lovejoy advises a wealthy client in an illegal antiques-trading ring and comes under suspicion when his employer is found bludgeoned to death on the side of the road. More intrigue awaits as an eccentric millionaire recruits Lovejoy to help him smuggle antiques from Venice.
Episode 10: Death and Venice, Part Two
Now in Venice, Lovejoy tries to thwart two powerful identical sisters-who are intent on looting the city's antiquities-by joining their ranks. When they realize he's up to something, Lovejoy's life may be at stake.
- Ian McShane talks about Lovejoy
Packaging: Boxed set
Run Time: 530 minutes, plus bonus programming
Format: Full screen
Number of Discs: 3
Color or B&W: Color
Region Code: 1
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Other: Due to the age of these programs and the improved resolution that DVD provides, you may notice occasional flaws in the image and audio on this DVD presentation that were beyond the studio's ability to correct from the original materials.
"Inimitably rich and funny" --The Washington Post
"Wit and originality" --Chicago Tribune
"Suspenseful" --Chicago Tribune
"Wonderful" --The Independent (UK)