EMPIRE picks up exactly where Season Two ended - Hakeem left at the altar, Lucious and Anika married and Anika and Rhonda fighting on the roof - until someone falls. Also, Lucious pursues his music legacy with his streaming service, while clashing with his half-brother, Tariq, who is leading a federal task force investigating him.
In an attempt to cope with life after being shot, Jamal teams up with businessman Angelo Dubois, to talk about gun violence and host a summit for awareness. When he tries to perform again, things don't go as planned. Meanwhile, Lucious attempts to win over Cookie, Hakeem starts to record new songs with Shine, and Andre runs into some trouble with the police.
Cookie calls in a favor with mega-superstar Kitty to record a new song with Jamal, hoping he will overcome his inability to perform. Meanwhile, Andre runs into some trouble and things don't go as planned. Cookie and Lucious are at odds, Hakeem and Gram fight for Tiana's attention, and things heat up between Cookie and Angelo Dubois.
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. Also, Anika goes back to work at Empire and instantly causes turmoil, while Hakeem starts falling for Nessa, even though she might be into a different Lyon.
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.
Empire is hacked and the leak creates feuds between artists and among the Lyon family. Andre takes advantage of the leak to step up and prove his worth to the company. Meanwhile, Lucious continues to try and drive a wedge between Cookie and Angelo, and Jamal finds himself in a love triangle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Lyons fear that the Dubois family is to blame for their latest family crisis, so when no one is willing to give up any information, Cookie takes matters into her own hands. Jamal and Lucious reach a breakthrough in a song on which they have been working, and Andre lashes out. Meanwhile, Cookie sets her eyes on a new plan for Empire in Vegas.
When Cookie is banned from Leviticus Vegas, she pulls together a team of her own allies to seek revenge on Giuliana and steal her secret weapon. Meanwhile, Jamal is encouraged to put his album on hold, so as not to compete with Lucious' "Inferno".
As Lucious gets ready to launch EMPIRE Las Vegas with Giuliana at his side, Cookie pulls together her own team of allies to wreak havoc on the opening. The final five minutes will leave viewers speechless.