We know how it is: you want to start watching a show, but it's well after the first season and who has the time to catch up? Not to worry. You can jump right in to Starz' thrilling gangster drama Power when Season 3 begins July 17 — with the right help. Although starting from the beginning is a really good idea, since it means reaping the rewards of Power's excellent second season, you can quickly get up to speed by just knowing the characters below. Ready? Buckle up!
1. Jamie St. Patrick a.k.a Ghost
Our protagonist Jamie (Omari Hardwick) is in big trouble, desperately trying to get out of the double life he's been leading. The public knows him as the three-piece-suit clad owner of a nightclub (Truth) and a Laundromat; insiders know him as a drug kingpin nicknamed Ghost. By the end of the second season, Jamie barely survived losing everything — the club, his family, his friends, his freedom and his life — and he's now desperate to break from the illegal business and go legit.
2. Angela Valdes, Jamie's mistress and federal agent
Jamie's trouble began when he reconnected with Angela (Lela Loren), an old flame he'd known and loved since childhood. When they saw each other in Truth one night, they immediately rekindled their romance (literally, right then and there) despite Jamie's wife and children. Angela initially had no idea of Jamie's illegal activity and Jamie initially didn't know Angela was a federal attorney investigating a big drug dealer... a man she eventually learned is named Ghost. Jamie and Angela spent Season 2 in a heart-pounding cat-and-mouse game of evading each others' truths while having incredibly hot sex. By the end of Season 2, their truths were out, by which point her colleagues suspected she's got some serious conflicts of interest going on and has been hiding evidence. Though she's already faced some punishment, she's only beginning to see how much of a s-- storm she's in, because her work adversaries aren't going to let her — or Ghost — off easy.
3. Tommy, Jamie's BFF/business partner turned enemy
With Jamie's head tangled up in Angela's, uh, business, he quickly turned allies into enemies — first of which was his hothead BFF Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora). Tommy, Jamie's friend since childhood, has gradually grown increasingly irritated with Jamie for a number of infractions, including Jamie cheating on his wife (with a federal agent, no less). Things went from bad to worse when Angela had Tommy arrested.
4. Holly, Tommy's criminal-minded girlfriend
Tommy really got pissed with Jamie when he learned that his girlfriend Holly (Lucy Walters) vanished because Jamie made her leave town when Angela's investigation got too close for comfort. Holly met Tommy at Truth when she was working there as a server; he made her his girlfriend. She's a petty thief and loose cannon who knows everything about their crimes (thanks to Tommy's mouth) but has proven loyal to Tommy even at the risk of her own safety. She demonstrated that at the end of Season 2, when she resurfaced with the stack of cash Jamie gave her to make her go away, and told Tommy all about her best friend's plan to make her disappear.
5. Felipe Lobos, the flamboyant drug distributor
By the end of Season 2, Ghost wasn't the only one trying to get out of the drug game: his drug distributor, Felipe Lobos (Enrique Murciano) was too. After getting nabbed by the Feds, and witnessing too much killing for his delicate sensibilities, he's trying to unload all his product quickly. He appointed Tommy in charge, but with an ultimatum: kill Ghost or he'll kill Tommy, Holly and their little dog, too.
6. Tasha, Jamie's loyal wife
Another person Jamie isn't getting a Christmas card from this year: his wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton), who's rightfully furious and shamed by his brazen cheating with Angela. She'd considered vanishing with the kids, but knew their ironclad prenup meant she'd end up with nothing. Besides, being Jamie's wife exempts her from testifying and since she's been with Jamie from Day One, she's in a position of advantage ... but she's in serious danger too. Tasha gradually became more cunning as Jamie's mess got messier, even encouraging Jamie to keep sleeping with Angela to protect their empire. Tasha is in a tricky spot: she's a threat and an ally to Jamie; she's a tool his enemies can exploit; and she's trying to protect her children while figuring out what she should or even can do next. Oof.
7. Stern, Jamie's business rival-turned-boss-turned nemesis
Also not feeling Jamie: former nightclub business partner Simon Stern (Victor Garber), who snatched Truth from Jamie during a time of crisis for Jamie. But when Jamie got word that Stern's wife was divorcing him, Jamie told Stern's soon-to-be ex-wife about his hidden offshore accounts, knowing she'd use that info to bleed Stern dry in divorce negotiations. She did, and to repay Jamie for the intel, she signed Truth (and two other clubs in Stern's portfolio) back over to Jamie before Stern even knew what hit him. After Stern picked his jaw up from the floor, he vowed revenge.
8. Kanan, the most terrible villain
Jamie has a LOT of problems, as you can tell, but the biggest of them all is Kanan, played by an intoxicating 50 Cent. Kanan is a monster who kills at will — including someone very, very close to him. Kanan knows that Jamie set him up to go to prison years ago and after he got out, he bided his time pretending to be cool with Jamie while he studied how to take over his turf. After a lot of plotting and shooting people, Kanan and Jamie finally had an epic confrontation at the end of Season 2 — one that ended with a battered and bloody Jamie shanking Kanan and setting the scene of their fight on fire. In the closing scene, investigators looked over the charred remains of the site and determined that someone escaped from the burning building, meaning Kanan is alive and another of many who wants to see Jamie suffer.
Of course, there's much more — there was a very deadly war between the drug sects Ghosts oversees; Tasha had an affair; Jamie has a new second-in-command whose motives aren't entirely clear. But you're now armed with the basics to jump into this thrilling series, and you most definitely should.
Power returns for Season 3 on Sunday, July 17 at 9/8c on Starz.