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Empire: This Is Why Tariq is Hellbent on Destroying Lucious Lyon

Actor Morocco Omari explains motivations for Tariq's mission to take down Lucious.

Malcolm Venable

(Caution: A spoiler about an upcoming episode of Empire is ahead!)

Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) has his clawed hands quite full dealing with enemies this season -- but no enemy as formidable as his half-brother and FBI agent Tariq, played by Morocco Omari.

In the short time we've known him, Tariq's devious deeds to take down Lucious include seducing Cookie's sister Carol (Tasha Smith) and sneaking a monitoring device in Anika (Geace Gealey) and Lucious' nursery to dig up dirt. And TVGuide.com can reveal that in an upcoming episode, Tariq will be one-on-one with Lucious' mother Leah (Leslie Uggams) -- keeper of dangerous secrets -- to pry some information out of her too.

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Still, we don't know much about this guy or exactly why he's so hellbent on seeing Lucious suffer. Granted, Lucious steals and kills to keep his money and power, which is kind of enough to take him down. But what specific thing did he do to his half-brother Tariq to get him so focused on revenge?

"That question hasn't been answered yet," Omari told TVGuide.com. He does have a theory though: Tariq and Lucious have different mothers, obviously, but share a father, who we've previously learned was shot to death. "[Tariq] never got to meet him. I never spent time with him; I always wanted to know him." Though we've always known Lucious as having risen from poverty, Omari's theory is that Lucious' family got "all the money when he died, and we got nothing. That's part of it, but I'm sure there's more."

Morocco Omari

Morocco Omari as Tariq.


Ah, yes the more. So much of it. Here's a theory: could Tariq actually be the bad guy in this fight? This is the dude, after all, who had cops slam Andre's (Trai Byers) to the ground and get him hemmed up on bogus charges in order to use him against Lucious.

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"No," he said. "I don't think he's the villain." Omari, a former Marine who served in Desert Storm, said African-Americans can have a complicated and sometimes mistrustful view of law enforcement -- a theme that's been unavoidable in the news as of late and present in Empire this season too. "People have that relationship with law enforcement... so no matter what they're doing you're going to be seen as the bad guy." Fans have even roughed him up on Twitter.

He couldn't say if Tariq's story this season ends in death, but does his character get involved in a shooting at least? "Good question," he said. "I don't think I've carried a gun yet. I don't know." We do know their cat-and-mouse game won't be ending soon. "Lucious is always one step ahead." He offered up an analogy from his own past as to why Lucious will likely keep the upper hand in their battle.

"I used to box and play football," the Chicago native said. "You can't let your emotions get in the way. You get hit, you don't get mad. Because once you get mad you exert energy. I think Tariq is taking all these things personally, and over exerting." Lucious, he said, is the smarter adversary. "When you're playing chess you have to see a board and think three, four, five moves ahead. I haven't been able to checkmate him. He's always got one more trick up his sleeve, so it's an obsession to catch this dude. It's personal."

Empire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.