It’s fun to consider living in a world where Empire Entertainment is a real company, offering a full display of the dark personal lives of its revolving door of CEOs. Alas, the drama is all fictional, but at least it’s about to get even more hyped with the introduction of a dangerous criminal portrayed by The Wire vet Wood Harris. Don’t expect him to innocently slink up to Cookie and Lucious’ lives, either.
After having played the crime boss role of a lifetime as The Wire‘s Avon Barksdale, Wood Harris will creep into Empire as the good-looking and smooth-talking Damon Cross, who will first show up in this week’s episode “What is Done.” Damon is an international money launderer whose charm is undercut by a dangerous edge, and fans can expect to see the character show off just how intimidating he can be. Of course, we all know what happens to overly confident people on this show.
Damon isn’t making things easy for himself, either. He first meets up with Lucious ahead of a high-stakes poker game at the center of the episode, but it’s Cookie that Damon will be trying to sway with temptation. According to EW, Lucious is already wanting to take Damon down at one point, though it’s still up in the air whether that’s directly tied to Cookie or not. (If Damon ties himself to Cookie, though, that could do it.)
At this time, Wood Harris is joining Empire in a recurring capacity, which is great news for anyone hoping he wouldn’t be a one-and-done character in Season 5. This show isn’t one that ever really lacks enemies for Lucious and Cookie to lose their shit over, but those enemies have a way of taking permanent vacations after a while. I want to see Damon pulling the strings for as long as possible, though, assuming Harris nails the role as hard as expected.
If Wood Harris is only taking a recurring role in Season 5, could that mean he has something to do with the major death that’s been teased through flash-forwards? If Lucious gets in trouble with the feds, and suffers some blood-oozing injury, then it’s certainly possible that Damon could be the character who set those events in motion.
It’s far less possible that Damon will be the person whose coffin and funeral are being teased. This is mostly based on Luscious (assumedly) being apologetic to whoever died — he said “I’m sorry” standing above the casket — and the fact that Lucious gives a shit in the first place. If things go the way they normally do, Damon’s death isn’t one that will provide a body to put in said casket.
Even though he caught his biggest breaks on TV earlier in his career, Wood Harris has seemingly become much more comfortable on the big screen. Recent years have seen him in Ant-Man, Blade Runner 2049, Once Upon a time in Venice, and Creed. (He’ll be reprising the role of Little Duke in Creed II as well.) On the small screen, 2017 saw him in the BET drama The Breaks and BET’s miniseries The New Edition Story.
With many awkward answers and awkward questions to come, Empire airs Wednesday nights on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET. Elsewhere on the fall TV schedule, there are shows that don’t have quite as much violence, rap and Taraji P. Henson, but they’re still worth checking out.