This really shouldn't come as too much of a shock to followers of this series. It seems the start of each season has Lovejoy being uprooted and looking for a new place over and over again. This time though, Lovejoy spends most of his time working, and living, out of his car. As a result, less time this season is spent with Lovejoy trying to sell his wares, and more time with him working on schemes and more personal deals.
For instance, in the first episode of this season, Lovejoy is trying to make some quick cash in order to buy back some of his seized antiques and comes across a commode that "might" have belonged to Napoleon. Lovejoy takes it upon himself to convince the right buyer that he thinks it actually belonged to the French Emperor without actually saying it was. As Lovejoy points out many times, you can't be arrested for selling counterfeit antiques if you don't actually make the claim that they are what the buyer thinks they are.
In a later episode, Charlie Gimbert (Malcolm Tierney) returns after several seasons away from the show. While Gimbert wasn't one of Lovejoy's favorite people in the antiques trade, he has taken on a much more antagonistic role after his hiatus. Gimbert becomes Lovejoy's foil. Where Lovejoy does his work for the love of antiques and attempts to scam people for a bit of extra cash, those scammed rarely seem like good people. Gimbert, on the other hand, is all about the money and whatever he can do to make the biggest profit.
When Gimbert shows back up, he is acting as a manager for a famous snooker player on tour. The finicky player claims that he will quit the show unless he finds the billiard table that used to belong to Mary, Queen of Scots. Gimbert hires Lovejoy to look for the table, and when Lovejoy learns that the table was burned along with all of Mary's other possessions after her death, Gimbert continues to pay Lovejoy in order to act like he was looking for the item in order to keep stringing the Scottish snooker player along. The frustrated Lovejoy, along with his co-patriots, Tinker (Dudley Sutton), Eric (Chris Jury) and Lady Jane (Phyllis Logan), decide to do whatever it takes to get the player out of Gimbert's clutches.
Gimbert shows up in several episodes this season. At times, he shows up only to act as a competitor for whatever antiques Lovejoy is trying to work with, but other times, he is a bigger part of the story. In one, Lovejoy, Tinker and Eric help a friend of Lady Jane's who is looking to sell some family heirlooms. While most of the furniture isn't valuable, Lovejoy does discover a commemorative plate used at a royal wedding. When he discovers that the area has more plates from this event, the group start a hunt in the hopes of collecting the entire set. Meanwhile, Charlie starts to wonder just what Lovejoy's crew is up to. In an attempt to throw Charlie off of the trail, Lovejoy works out a con to point Charlie at a chair that would be best sold as a pair.
One of Lovejoy's other exploits this season includes being asked to take a genuine Stradivarius violin and make it look like a fake. While the group, and a colleague who specializes in instruments, find plenty of ways to make the violin look like a knockoff, part of the mystery is why they are being asked to do this.
There are two episodes that delve a bit into some of Lovejoy's past acquaintances. In one, an old friend has been living on the streets for over two years and the only thing that he couldn't part with was a valuable painting. After finally having to pawn the artwork, he comes to Lovejoy for help. Unfortunately, with his own (and ever present) money issues, the pair don't have a lot to work with. What Lovejoy does is attempt to string together an amazing series of small purchases and trades in order to take the few pounds they have between them and eventually end up with the amount needed to get the painting back.
The other bit that shows some of Lovejoy's history involves his mentor calling on him to help in a con that will swindle a man who ruins artists in an unusual way. The target of the con finds an artist he likes, buys up all of their work in one go. When the artist dies, his company sells the artwork to private collectors for a much higher price, and the artwork itself is rarely seen by the public eye. This particular con is interesting in that the whole group take over an estate and pretend to be nobles (well, Lady Jane is noble, but she helps to add authenticity to the show) in order to get the mark to buy what he believes to be a rare piece of artwork.
Other misadventures involve trying to sell a massive old cannon, investigating a ring of antique thefts and even traveling to Ireland in order to research a historic book that has apparently been lost for ages, but the season's final episode puts Lovejoy in an interesting spot.
After having gained some notoriety after a television appearance, Lovejoy starts to ignore his friends and think more and more about the money he could be making. Moreover, the announcement that he has the special "divvie" talent puts Tinker on edge. Tinker keeps reminding Lovejoy of a previous divvie who let his skills be known and then vanished. When Lovejoy starts having trouble with talent, he also starts to have doubts.
Lovejoy: Series 4's only special feature is a bonus feature length episode. In it, a Czech war veteran returns to England to look up a love he had while he was stationed nearby. The two catch up on each other's lives, but when Lovejoy finds the man unconscious in an abandoned church, Lovejoy starts to look into other reasons the man might be in town. What he finds is a diamond that appears to be from a monstrance known as "The Prague Sun." Eric and Lovejoy travel to Prague to investigate the mystery more, while Lady Jane leaves on a ski trip (much to Lovejoy's chagrin), leaving Tinker to deal with a local hospital charity that needs wrapped presents and a "Father Christmas."
Lovejoy: Series 4 is a solid season of a good show. The season's reintroduction of Charlie Gimbert, as more than just an annoying side character that you sort-of don't like, doesn't steer this season too far from the rest of the show, but it does add a bit of extra depth that makes you appreciate Lovejoy even better. If you are a fan of this show and its characters, then you won't want to miss this latest release.