A search for sunken treasure on the ocean floor plays out like a cold case mystery on "Treasure Quest," a new Discovery Channel series that follows the undersea salvage work of Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration.
The 11-part series, debuting at 10 p.m. Thursday, takes viewers along on the hunt for the Merchant Royal, a trading ship loaded with gold, silver and jewels that went down in the English Channel in 1641.
A mix of adventure, science and history, "Treasure Quest" details the work of the world's only publicly traded company dedicated to deep-ocean shipwreck exploration.
"It's a chance to show people what we do and what's involved in locating, identifying and then recovering artifacts," says Odyssey co-founder and CEO Greg Stemm.
"We're doing more than just recovering lost treasure," he adds. "Our goal is to map the entire ocean bottom."
Odyssey made headlines in recent years with two major discoveries: the SS Republic, a steamship that sank 100 miles off the coast of Georgia in 1865 while carrying a fortune in gold coins, and a Colonial era shipwreck near Portugal that yielded $500 million in silver and gold coins.