Season Three
Original Run September 21st, 2016 - May 24th, 2017
Season 2"
Season 4"
The Third Season of Empire premiered on September 21st, 2016 on FOX. The season aired at 9pm (ET) every Wednesday. The season was produced by 20th Century Fox Television, in association with Imagine Entertainment, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Danny Strong Productions, and Little Chickens, Inc, with Lee DanielsDanny Strong, and Ilene Chaiken as the showrunners. On January 15th, 2016, a third season was confirmed during the second half of the second season.

The show centers around a hip hop music and entertainment company, Empire Entertainment, and the drama among the members of the founders' family as they fight for control of the company. 


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Only add characters when they appear in at least 3 episodes.

  • Sierra McClain as Nessa Parker (17/18)
  • Taye Diggs as Angelo DuBois (8/18)
  • Ajiona Alexus as Teenage Loretha (Cookie) (6/18)
  • Jeremy Carver as Teenage Lucious (6/18)
  • Juan Antonio as Philip (6/18)
  • Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon (5/18)
  • Leslie Uggams as Leah Walker (/18)
  • Tobias Truvillion as D-Major (5/18)
  • AzMarie Livingston as Chicken (/18)
  • Andre Royo as Thirsty Rawlings (/18)
  • Ezri Walker as Zeah (3/18)
  • Samuel Hunt as Xavier Rosen (3/18)
  • Romeo Miller as Gram (3/18)
  • Phylicia Rashad as Diana DuBois (3/18)
  • Eva Longoria as Charlotte Frost (TBA/18)
  • Nia Long as Giuliana Green (TBA/18)
  • Demi Moore as Doctor (TBA/18)

Guest Stars


  • Birdman as himself (1/18)
  • Biz Markie as himself (1/18)


Image Title Original Airdate U.S. Viewers
(in millions)
301 1. "Light in Darkness" September 21, 2016

Plot:  Hakeem leaves the altar, and a rooftop fight between Anika and Rhonda leads to a tragic fall; Lucious uses his streaming service to pursue his music legacy and clashes with Tariq, who leads a federal task force to investigate him.


302 2. "Sin That Amends" September 28, 2016

Plot: Jamal partners with Angelo Dubois to host a summit for gun violence awareness; Lucious tries to win over Cookie; Hakeem and Shine start to record new songs together; Andre gets into trouble with the police.


303 3. "What Remains Is Bestial" October 5, 2016

Plot: Cookie asks superstar Kitty to record a new song with Jamal, in hopes of helping him regain his ability to perform; Andre gets into trouble; Hakeem and Gram vie for Tiana's attention.


3041 4. "Cupid Kills" October 12, 2016

Plot: Things heat up between Cookie and Angelo, so Lucious finally recognizes Angelo as a formidable rival and prepares to take him on. Meanwhile, Jamal is finally able to face Freda Gatz, a big first step on his journey to recovery.


305 5. "One Before Another" November 9, 2016

Plot: Lucious and Andre are on high alert as they wait for Shine to retaliate after their latest business encounter went south. Jamal, who has yet to perform in front of his fans, teams up with Hakeem for a performance that he thinks could help him face his fears. Meanwhile, Cookie is caught off-guard during a routine meeting with her probation officer.


306 6."Chimes at Midnight" November 16, 2016

Plot: When Empire is hacked, the leak creates feuds between the artists and among the Lyon family; Andre tries to prove his worth to the company; Lucious is determined to divide Cookie and Angelo; Jamal is caught in a love triangle.


307 7. "What We May Be" November 30, 2016

Plot: Cookie looks to Candace for tips on how to plan an elaborate family dinner that will impress Angelo's mother, Diane. Meanwhile, old home videos cause Cookie to face secrets about her relationship with her father that she had tried to hide from her kids, and Andre organizes an unlikely duet.


308 8."The Unkindest Cut" December 7, 2016

Plot: Andre sabotages Tiana's big appearance at a fashion event in an attempt to get Nessa into the spotlight. Meanwhile, Tariq works with Leah to try to bring down Lucious, and Jamal works with Philip to get over his PTSD.


Empire-season3-ep9 9. "A Furnace For Your Foe" December 14, 2016

Plot: Cookie attempts to help Angelo appeal to the masses and win the mayoral bid, by hosting a free park concert. Meanwhile, the FBI continues to investigate Lucious and freezes all of Empire's assets, which has major repercussions.


SnF 10. "Sound & Fury" March 22, 2017

Plot: After launching a deadly missile at Angelo, Lucious announces his new music project, Inferno, and puts everyone on notice - especially Cookie, who then vows to knock him off his throne for good. The two engage in an epic clash - fueled by a history of love, loyalty, and betrayal. Meanwhile, Jamal befriends musician Tory Ash during his stay in rehab, Andre continues with his plan to take over Empire, and Hakeem and Tiana battle Nessa for a spot in the music showcase. Singles:

PO 11."Play On" March 29, 2017

Plot:  Cookie tries to move forward with Angelo, while struggling with guilt over her run-in with Lucious. Meanwhile, Leah seeks out Tariq's help in taking down Anika, and Jamal and Tory team up in the studio. Singles:

SBF 12."Strange Bedfellows" April 5, 2017

Plot:  Angelo makes an unsettling discovery and is concerned that Cookie's past isn't in the past and will hurt his chances of becoming the Mayor. Anika is faced with a life-changing decision after Tariq reveals what he is really after. Meanwhile, Hakeem's 21st birthday party takes an unexpected turn. Singles:

MNV 13."My Naked Villainy" April 12, 2017

Plot:  Hakeem throws an epic 21st birthday party and live-streams it all on Empire Xstream. Meanwhile, suspicions surrounding Anika's motives put the Lyons on high alert and the arrival of Giuliana gives Cookie a run for her money. Singles:

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LIAS 14. "Love Is a Smoke" April 26, 2017

Plot:  Cookie gives Lucious unexpected news that makes him feel uneasy about the future. Hoping to make Cookie jealous, Giuliana moves in on Lucious and persuades him to comply with her new plans. Meanwhile, Anika and Tariq devise a new plan and Charlotte Frost holds the EMPIRE Las Vegas dream in her hands. Singles:

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315 15."Civil Hands Unclean" May 3, 2017

Plot:  Angelo's relationship with Cookie turns toxic and leaves her questioning her decisions. Hakeem makes a public plea for Lucious to give him paternity of Bella during his return to Empire Xstream. Meanwhile, Cookie becomes increasingly more suspicious of Lucious' intentions with Giuliana and Empire's future in Vegas, and Lucious and Jamal work overtime to finish their albums.


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316 16. "Absent Child" May 10, 2017

Plot: Cookie takes matters into her own hands when the Lyons suspect the Dubois family is to blame for their latest family crisis; Andre lashes out; Cookie sets her eyes on a new plan for Empire in Vegas.


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317 17." Toil and Trouble, Pt. I" May 17, 2017

Plot: After being banned from Leviticus Vegas, Cookie gathers a team of allies to seek revenge on Giuliana and steal her secret weapon; Jamal is encouraged to delay his album so he won't have to compete with Lucious' "Inferno."


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318 18. "Toil and Trouble, Pt. II" May 24, 2017

Plot: As Lucious gets ready to launch EMPIRE Las Vegas with Giuliana at his side, Cookie pulls together her own team of allies to wreck havoc on the opening.


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  • Xzibit was promoted to a series regular ahead of Season 3, reprising his role as Shyne Johnson. (6/18) Source
  • It was unknown whether Kaitlin Doubleday will return as Rhonda Lyon on Empire after the second season finale's cliffhanger.

Guest Cast

  • Sierra McClain had a recurring role for the third season of Empire. (6/18) Source
  • Taye Diggs guest starred on Empire. (6/18) Source
  • Mariah Carey was confirmed to guest star on Empire. (8/18) Source
  • French Montana and Birdman appeared in the season.