‘Empire’ Kills off Another Cast Member — and Who’s the Murderer? (SPOILERS)

Terrence Howard
Courtesy of Fox

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the episode of “Empire” which aired on Wednesday, May 17.

“Empire” is no stranger to saying goodbye to major characters, and the Fox show did it again, killing off the main antagonist of Season 3: Tariq (Morocco Omari), who was stabbed in the neck by none other than Lucious’ mother, Leah Walker (Leslie Uggams.)

Earlier in the episode, Lucious (Terrence Howard) and his half-brother Tariq had finally made up, after a long history of hating each other. Lucious enlisted Tariq’s help to find his granddaughter, Hakeem’s (Bryshere Gray) baby girl, Bella, and Tariq was successful in finding her — with the Dubois family, a.k.a. Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) former flame, Angelo (Taye Diggs), and his nutso mother, Diana (Phylicia Rashad).

Moments before Wednesday’s episode ended, Tariq sat down with Lucious to tell him that he found Bella, who’s been missing. He was about to reveal the baby’s whereabouts, but didn’t spill before Leah came up behind him and stabbed him right in the neck. Lucious yelled, “What did you do?” as Tariq fell to the bloody floor and quickly died.

Here, “Empire” showrunner Ilene Chaiken talks to Variety about the decision to kill off Tariq and why Lucious’ mom wanted to murder him. Plus, will we get answers in next week’s finale?

That came out of nowhere! Why did Lucious’ mother kill Tariq?

Don’t underestimate Leah. It’s not random. She has a plan. Leah is also unpredictable — you never know whom she is coming for and how, but we almost felt as if she has promised so many times to do something homicidal and we need her to deliver on her promise.

What will Lucious do to his mother, now that she killed his half-brother?

Lucious has a lot on his plate. He’s going to have to manage his mother without letting anything else fall through the cracks. I would think that Lucious might be considering letting her go down for it, but then again, Lucious has a warped sense of honor and loyalty and responsibility. It’s hard to predict exactly what he’s going to do.

Tariq had the answers of Bella’s whereabouts. How will the Lyon family now find out that the Dubois family has her?

This is a big setback because Lucious is on the verge of finding his granddaughter and Leah derailed Lucious’ agenda. The episode ends with Lucious not getting this information that he’s so desperate for. It leaves a big question mark as to whether or not Lucious will find Bella.

How will the Lyons react when they know the Dubois family took baby Bella?

I think that the Lyons were already at war with the Dubois, but this will step it up. The Dubois family, led by Diana Dubois, are the most formidable advisories that the Lyons have faced. That family rivalry is not going away any time soon.

What storylines can we expect to wrap up in the finale?

Very few things ever get wrapped up on “Empire.” Things just get taken to the next level and left on the edges of cliffs! But we certainly will take the Lucious, Cookie, Giuliana (Nia Long) love triangle to its ultimate Season 3 conclusion — whether Cookie will get her man back or whether she’s lost him for good will be the central story in our finale. The whereabouts of Hakeem’s daughter will be, if not wrapped up, certainly further explicated. And Leah’s purpose in murdering Tariq will be illuminated in the finale. Whether or not Andre (Trai Byers) is going to follow through on his plan to kill his father is a very, very big moment in our finale.

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  1. Jukilla says:

    Yes i did watch empire wenseday it was great and cant wait to next week

  2. Mama Grizzly says:

    As usual, leaving us biting our nails in anticipation. I just love this show.

  3. TJ says:

    I think Hakeem is not Bella’s father – I think there’s going to be a twist to this one. Tariq might have left behind some record behind, something Lucious will find that will help find Bella. I also think Lucious is only using Guiliana for the whole Vegas thing – nothing more. Once he gets what he wants from her, he will drop her & she will seek revenge. If Andre gets caught trying to kill his father, they will blame it on his illness, saying he never got over the death of his wife, blah…blah….blah…. he’ll get sent to a psych ward and come out a “changed man.” Cookie & Lucious will always love each other, but they will never be together again because they are toxic for each other. Better they work together and King & Queen of Empire. Jamal will become the new head of Empire if Lucious gets the axe but killing him off would be bad for the show – they will loose ratings so best not to kill Lucious.

  4. Cher D Love says:

    It’s a predominantly black cast… Filled with drama… This is why we ALL watch… Yeah, whether you want to admit it or not. The show is a great show… Very interesting. So all y’all haters keep watching and hating that’s whatcha do best… n – t – wayz … I cant wait for next week’s episode… And go harder next season Mr. Lee Daniels…. We ALL will be watching… trust me.

    As for VARIETY… “Spoiled to Death” was right… But do you on your articles ya feel me? I still read it irregardless to the title…

  5. tammi says:

    this show is terrible…poor writers…and always the worst story scenario…scenes are repeated way to much

    • Nuna business says:

      Haterrr stop watching it then tf

    • Cher D Love says:

      Now of all the things stated here… This is true. Poor writers.. With all that left behind series of events going on… That was a bust. Go back to your previous writings.

  6. Yvonne Hubbard says:

    This show is the best I have ever seen on TV in my 57 years.

  7. Karma says:

    I think this show is dying and that’s why the bull is so far fetched. Who would keep someone in their house and she’s knowingly a damaged soul. I only watch this on hulu if I don’t have anything else to watch.

    • Cher D Love says:

      You dont have to watch it period! You watch because you love drama..

    • Eyeorr says:

      Agreed. I’ve never rolled my eyes so much. Learning to crack a safe by “being the lock.” WHAT? Tariq coming back in after Lucious ruined his career…seriously.

  8. debra lafargue says:

    I think Empire is a very good show because it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire hour it is on. The music is good and there are so many big name actors taking part in it. Keep up the good work!

  9. SpoiledToDeath says:

    DEAR VARIETY – there is no point saying “spoiler alert” when your headline screams that a character has been killed off!! That IS a spoiler!! Nobody watches shows the night they air so PLEASE stop putting spoilers in your email alert headlines! How about “Shocking Twist in Empire episode” Read ahead for spoilers

  10. ‘Empire’ started out so well! But each season has made it a joke. I used to couldn’t wait to see it each week but now if I see it I do and if I don’t, oh well. There are too many characters and you never know what their relationship is to the main characters. I am tired of Cookie screaming at Lucious and his disrespecting her..with all these other women with dubious roles. I never thought that Taye Diggs’ character was a good match for her and I don’t know why she couldn’t see it either. Every role Taye plays is one of a user. He is always only looking out for himself. He knew Cookie’s background and what he would be dealing with. Cookie still loves Lucious. How about a series finale?? Lee Daniels, ‘Empire’ has played; time for new things.

  11. cdhaskell says:

    I still couldn’t believe the way that Tariq was kill off last night. Tariq was going to tell Lyon his brother where Bella Lyon was. You would think the Lyon family would keep a better eye on her and make sure that she couldn’t get her hand on any kind of weapon.

  12. Daria says:

    I stopped watching when they killed Rhonda

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