Cookie Lyon and Lucious Lyon were childhood friends her later got married and had three children. They always dreamed of starting their own music company even though they lived in poverty and sold drugs for a living. Cookie made a big drop and got enough money to start their company named Empire. Cookie gets caught and is arrested for 17 year, meanwhile Lucious is to focused getting empire started to care.
Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem bring their mom Cookie home from prison. Then Cookie tries to talk to Lucious about the company they started together. Lucious refuses to give Cookie her fair share of the company and forces her to leave the premises. So she meets up with her cousin Bunkie who happens to work very closely with Lucious and he offers her a place on the board that is directly under Bunkie and Lucious.
When Lucious found out about Bunkie giving Cookie a job at "his" company, Lucious was furious. Bunkie tried to explain to Lucious that he was just trying to help out his cousin considering the fact that she was in prison for seventeen years and has literally nothing. Lucious did not care what his reasons were, he just shot him. Little did Lucious know, Cookie took Bunkie's position so now, Lucious has to answer to her before he makes any executive decisions.
Cookie hacks Empire's database and threatens to shut it down completely if she is not put into the CEO position immediately. Quite naturally, Lucious resigned and Cookie took his place. Additionally, Cookie's boyfriend Angelo Dubois disliked how badly Lucious treated Cookie so he killed Lucious.
Cookie goes over to her son Andre's house where Jamal and Hakeem meet them to discuss the number of offairs that have recently taken place. Then Cookie asks her sons to give her some insight on the future of the company. they tell her that at the moment, everything financially is prospering. As far as her position, they tell her that no one who hasn't been in her situation will threaten her CEO position.
Frank Gathers gets out of prison and finds out that Cookie was responsible for the death of his best friend Lucious Lyon. Frank shows up to Cookie's house unannounced, holding her kids captive. She immediately tries to get her children but Frank stops her and tells her that her sons are his living slaves until gives the CEO position to him. So Cookie gives up her position for her sneaky and conniving children.