Empire (2015– )
1 user 4 critic

Who I Am 

As the time comes for the Empire stock launch and the celebratory tribute concert, Lucious picks a successor, but hasn't reckoned with the response.


Debbie Allen


Lee Daniels (created by), Danny Strong (created by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Terrence Howard ... Lucious Lyon
Bryshere Y. Gray ... Hakeem Lyon
Jussie Smollett ... Jamal Lyon
Trai Byers ... Andre Lyon
Grace Byers ... Anika Calhoun (as Grace Gealey)
Malik Yoba ... Vernon Turner
Kaitlin Doubleday ... Rhonda Lyon
Taraji P. Henson ... Cookie Lyon
Patti LaBelle ... Patti LaBelle
Nealla Gordon ... Harlow Carter
Gabourey Sidibe ... Becky
Jennifer Hudson ... Michelle White
James Washington James Washington ... Titan (as Jim Beanz)
Rita Ora ... Rita Ora
Juicy J ... Juicy J


As the time comes for the Empire stock launch and the celebratory tribute concert, Lucious picks a successor, but hasn't reckoned with the response.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 March 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Anika and Hakeem have a short conversation about "A Curious Mind" by Brian Grazer. Grazer is one of the executive producers of the show. See more »


Lucious Lyon: You may think you've gotten away with it, but don't fool yourselves. This is only the beginning. See, the streets couldn't defeat me. Disease couldn't stop me. Even God can't kill me. The day will come when Lucious Lyon will return. Game time, bitches.
See more »


References First Blood (1982) See more »


She Working that Nookie Thang (feat. Big Josh)
Performed by Big Cynthia
See more »

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User Reviews

Remember TV's Dynasty famous episode The Cat Fight? (Season 3 episode 23)
18 March 2015 | by Ed-ShullivanSee all my reviews

I Loved it but I ended up with a headache after watching the season 1 double header two hour finale. There was mayhem, murder, a rare non-curable disease that may lead to the imminent death of the CEO of Empire, sibling rivalry, sex, bodies disappearing, super stars (such as Jennifer Hudson) singing, and oh yes the catfight between Cookie Lyon and Anika Calhoun. I guess my headache was caused by the writers attempt to cram in as much action into the plot in season one's compact 12 episodes than a normal 20-24 episode season seen in other TV series. I just found the drama way over the top and scrambling for a short 12 hour season one (1) TV drama. Even at only 12 hours the complexities of the Lyons family comprised of mom (Taraji P Henson) and dad (Terrence Howard) and their three (3) sons who rival each other for taking over the family business is just way too much story line cramped in to a 12 hour season one. Get a PVR so you can rewind and hear the Lyon families individual confessions and dilemmas to avoid too much confusion. This series storyline is just all over the place.

Luscious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard) is the king of EMPIRE and is both depicted as a music GOD and criminal who is finally coming to justice for past dastardly deeds. The wife and I thank our lucky stars for the invention of the PVR so we could fast forward through the endless commercials and trippy dialogue that did remind us of the 1980's television hit Dynasty. But you have to give the producers credit for thinking of this storyline that post dates successful nighttime soap boxes as the aforementioned 1980's Dynasty as well as Dallas.

Speaking of Dynasty the catfight in Empire wasn't as over the top as season 3 episode 23's Dynasty, but it certainly reminded us of the television tone of 30 years ago coming to light once again but with a music empire as the incentive for greed and personal desire.

Luscious Lyons middle son Jamal is gay and Luscious just can't seem to get over having a gay son. Jamal is played by Jussie Smollett who really has an amazing voice which I predict will bring to the series and their fans during season 2 a top ten record on the soul and hip hop charts. He's that good a singer and he has superb stage presence. He is a combination of Usher's dancing style and John Legend's voice. Hey since Empire's target audience is for the under 30 crowd they wouldn't know about Dynasty and Dallas so they would not consider Empire to be a copycat of a by-gone television era. This is a hip hop eclectic and dysfunctional family. 50 years ago the typical family was the Cleavers (remember the Beaver Cleaver and his older brother Wally?) 30 years ago it was the dysfunctional Carrington (Dynasty) and Ewing (Dallas) clan and now we have the hip hop Lyons breaking the color barrier on TV as the wealthy and ON TOP hip hop artist family, the Lyons.

I give it another year and the rating will fall off drastically when todays generation X kids realize they have been fooled by some re-hashed story lines from a bygone era of 35 years ago but with a new hip hop spin for 2015-2106. Bang a gong, get it on!

I give the series a 5 out of 10 and with about as much of a chance as 50 to 50 to survive past a season 2, unless they slow down the confusing story lines and spread season 2 over a longer 20-24 episodes.

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