Rise by Sin
Season Two, Episode Seventeen
Lucious & Cookie - EMP217.jpg
Air date: May 11, 2016
Writers: Ayanna Floyd Davis
Jamie Rosengard
Director: Paul McCrane
Premiere: 9.81 million
The Lyon Who Cried Wolf
Past Is Prologue

Rise by Sin is the seventeenth episode of the second season of Empire and the twenty-ninth episode overall. It aired on May 11, 2016.

Hakeem feels the pressure of his underwhelming fiancé, Laura, as he struggles to find a place for her both in his family and his career. Cookie finally reveals to Jamal the truth behind what happened to Freda's father, prompting Jamal to warn Freda of his family's ulterior motives. Meanwhile, despite his frustration with the family, Jamal makes a sacrifice for Lucious from which it will be hard to recover.


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  • Fabulous - DMK


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

  • Morocco Omari as Tariq Cousins
  • Tobias Truvillion as Derek Major/D-Major
  • Jane Hannemann as Carmel Dielman

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Hakeem begins to lose his faith in Laura, telling her that while she had a few good songs and opened for Tiana, he doesn't think she is star material.
  • Rhonda not-so-subtly confronts Anika and asks whether she was wearing red-sole Louboutins when she came to visit the nursery, and asks whether she also wore them that night (the night Rhonda was pushed).
  • Leah, who is still residing at Lucious' house, is upset after seeing the "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom" music video and how Lucious is lying about her being dead. She tells Andre that she wishes to attend the ASAs to see her son and grandsons perform on stage for the first time ever. However, Lucious, who had anticipated her asking that and Andre caving in, has Thirsty and his goons lock Andre and Leah in a panic room fitted with steel inch safe doors.
  • Jamal and Derek began to get close in the recording studio, only for Lucious to walk in. Derek immediately lashes at Jamal and tells Lucious to keep his son in check. However, Lucious reveals that Derek was never that good at hiding his secret and that he knew Derek was gay. Regardless, he expresses his distaste for Jamal's "unnatural" lifestyle and goes as far as to tell Jamal that he will celebrate the day when Jamal contracts AIDS and dies.
  • Carol is asked out by Tariq Cousins, an FBI Agent. Cookie and Lucious both wonder why an ex-cop would date a crackhead like Carol, prompting Cookie to have a talk with Tariq. Accusing Cookie of trying to steal Tariq away from her, the same way she claims Cookie stole all her boyfriends, including Lucious, she tells Cookie to back off. Realizing that Carol believes that she may have ended up with Lucious if Lucious hadn't met her, and that she thinks she would have had Cookie's life, Cookie kicks her out of her apartment as well as Empire, her temper flaring up when Carol states that Cookie never cared about her.
  • Upon finding out that Jamal is still making music with Freda, Cookie reveals that she snitched on Frank Gathers to get out of prison early. Jamal, who was aware that Frank and Lucious were both incarcerated at Brooklyn Correctional Facility, realizes that Lucious had something to do with Frank's murder. Angry at his father for his words of hatred as well as his mom for being responsible, Jamal approaches Freda at the ASAs and tells her that he'll help her leave Empire and get away. Jamal also announces that he is shelving his Black & White album, as it was produced by his parents.
    • Carol, who had come to the ASAs expecting to get in, is escorted out by Lucious' guards. In an attempt to stay, she asks Freda to take her, but Freda dismisses her as she has press to do. Carol, who is drunk, makes an outburst on how Freda only got where she is because Lucious felt guilty about what he did to Frank. Freda begins to think back to when she first met Lucious as well as her encounters with Lucious and Jamal after. Realizing that Lucious most likely killed her father, she steals a gun from a security guard, pistol whipping him on the head, and rushes to the podium to kill Lucious. Jamal, who sees her approaching, attempts to stop her, but gets shot in the gut instead. Freda, horrified and stunned, is then taken away by the police.
  • Thirsty lets Andre and Leah out and escorts them to the hospital, where Jamal is undergoing surgery. During the fiasco, Leah slips out of the hospital, where she is ambushed by reporters asking her whether she's a member of the family, to which she states that she is. She is then asked what her relationship is with Lucious Lyon.
  • FBI Agent Tariq Cousins, realizing that Carol is too unstable a witness to testify against Lucious Lyon, brings in Anika instead, who is seated in an interrogation room.


  • Jamal is revealed to be around 26 years old.
  • FBI Agent Tariq Cousins refers to Bunkie as Bunkie Campbell; however, in the season 1 finale "Who I Am", FBI Agent Carter tells Lucious that he is being arrested for the murder of Bunkie Williams
    • However, before the show began airing, promotional behind-the-scenes media found online referred to Bunkie as "Bunkie Campbell".
    • Carol's last name, which had not been stated before on the show, is mentioned in this episode to be "Hardaway". Carol was also referred to as Carol Hardaway in promotional media online before the show began airing.
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