Empire began with a collaboration from Tianna and Veronica as Hakeem looks on impressed by his new lady. Hakeem questions his father about shooting a music video for his new single. Veronica is unhappy with Tianna pushing in on her performance and demands her manager do something about it. He interrupts Lucious and Hakeem, demanding everything they were promised when she was signed. Lucious invites him to his trailer to discuss business, but beats him with a golf club instead! Cookie arrives demanding details on Bunky’s funeral. Lucious assures him he will be buried grandly and properly, but warns her not to do anything to mess with the video shoot going on. Back at Empire, Lucious learns Fo-Fo has signed with a rival record company. Becky is forced to interrupt his meeting when a detective comes to update him on Bunky’s case. They tell him they have an eyewitness. Lucious offers his assistance, but has Andre use his contact at the mayor’s office to get details on the case.
Cookie auditions songwriters for Jamal, hoping one of them will write him a hit. Andre directs her to the Jorkensons, a respected duo who wrote four hit songs in the last year. cookie manages to introduce herself, but is quickly upstaged as Anika tells them of her origins. Jamal becomes angry with his mother for finding songwriters, but she insists it will find him a hit and topple Hakeem. He is reluctant to compete with his brother. Andre meets with his contact, Deputy Mayor Alvarez, and gets her to help him with the case by having sex with her from the back in her office. Hakeem eyes an older, beautiful woman while partying at Leviticus with Tianna. Anika exposes Cookie’s meeting with the feds via help from a private detective. Andre tells his father the eyewitness is a homeless man. The police find the witness to be unintelligible. At Bunky’s wake Lucious angrily confronts Cookie and questions if she sold him out for parole. He then tells her he will take down anyone who threatens his family and company. She promises she would never betray him like that. Later, Rhonda demands to know how Andre got information from the Deputy Mayor. He shows her in their bathroom.
At Bunky’s funeral Cookie questions her sister about talking to Lucious. She assures her she did not and then reminds her of Puma, a retired songwriter who once carried a torch for her. Lucious shows a tender side to a young fan, inspiring him to pursue his dreams. At the funeral he delivers a touching eulogy for Bunky while flashbacking to their final moments together. Cookie lets the feds know Lucious is on to her. They reveal that they already know and that Anika was behind it. At home, Lucious begins to experience cramps caused by his ALS. He decides to have a dinner for Tianna and Hakeem to welcome her to the family, after realizing how good they look together. They cover her tracks by arranging a parole meeting in Lucious’ office. The agent pretends to also be a fan of his. He apologizes to Cookie and invites her a family dinner at their home. Cookie goes to see Puma, who finds she is still beautiful and tries to come on to her. She resists his advances and asks her for a song. He reluctantly gives in and sends her one he wrote for her years ago that Lucious bought, but never used. Cookie pitches it to Jamal who modifies it. She tells him his father will love it and that she is inviting Michael to their family dinner.
At the dinner, Cookie admonishes her family for eating before prayer and while praying threatens Anika. Jamal performs for his family after dinner. Everyone, but Lucious seems moved as he declares the song would be amazing for John Legend’s new album. Jamal angrily leaves with Michael in tow. Cookie admonishes him for mistreating their son. Later, Hakeem cuddles up on a pool table with Camilla, the older woman from Leviticus he has been with for over a year. The detective returns to see the eyewitness who identifies Lucious as Bunkie’s murderer. Lucious visits Jamal and tries to teach him a lesson on life, but Jamal reminds him just how brutal his lessons have been. He stands up to him and refuses to follow his rules. Lucious calls his bluff when he mentions the luxury apartment. Jamal and Michael promptly pack and leave. The former declares he is going to take Empire from his father.