This episode centered on a major crisis that befalls Empire. One day, the entire company is taken completely by surprise as it becomes hacked by an anonymous entity. The bug– which at first manifests itself in the form of an email with an mp3 attachment of Tiana’s hit single ‘Me’– begins to affect to executives, employees and artists’ phones and tablets, including Jamal’s (Jussie Smollett), Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) and even Lucious’s (Terence Howard). 

‘Empire’ Season 3 Episode 6 Recap: ‘Chimes At Midnight’

Thus, Lucious, Andre (Trai Byers) and the rest of Empire’s board begin scrambling to find the hacker, who gradually releases the emails of everybody associated with the label, and also accesses many of the company’s assets. The hacker also eventually demands that one million dollars be wired to a private account as a type of ransom payment. Andre hires one of the best cyber-security experts in New York, although even he finds it difficult to find the source of the leak, especially after said hacker has infiltrated Empire’s entire system and even leaked a nude selfie that Cookie took and whom everybody sees.

After Lucious, in his typical enraged fashion, does everything to find who is behind the hack, even going as far as to intimidate and threaten the cyber expert. Lucious also demands that Andre (the CFO) fire any employee who spoke badly of him. Andre suggests at first that the hack may have been carried out by Vaughn, one of Empire’s former associates who tried to ‘buy out’ Lucious and were turned down by the latter’s offer following their counter-offer (or proposed alternative). However, after Lucious demands a meeting with Vaughn, the latter denies having hacked Empire, and the Lyons remain without proof of who hit them.

Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), meanwhile, continues to romantically pursue Nessa (Sierra McClain), who continues to become one of Empire’s biggest artists. However, Andre tells him to step off, because she’s his.

Tiana (Serayah McNeill) is heartbroken after her ex-boyfriend, former Empire rapper Gram (Romeo Miller) posts a video online of himself trashing her and the company.

After the board meets to discuss possible solutions for dealing with the hack, Andre reveals that he knows his late uncle Vernon (a former board member), occasionally used company funds to pay prostitutes for their services. Andre adds that he kept this hidden in order to not compromise Empire’s stock market IPO. After board chairman Leonard Bernstein suggests Andre should step down as CFO for keeping this information hidden, Andre replies that Bernstein is also guilty for hiring prostitutes, according to the leaked emails, as are several other board members for other crimes or corrupt practices. The board realize they couldn’t possibly function without some of their top members. Thus, Andre adeptly gambles to successfully keep his job instead of resigning.

Tiana reveals to Lucious and Andre that Gram has some knowledge of hacking, as he has previously broken into her phone without even knowing her passcode. Conveniently enough, the cyber security expert also soon brings Lucious a flash drive that Gram accidentally left lying around in a recording studio.

Lucious and Andre break into Gram’s house and tell him they know he hacked Empire, even turning on all his computers to show their evidence. After Gram confesses and threateningly asks if they will call the cops, Lucious responds they have something “much better in mind.”

Shine (Xzibit) and his cronies– who are now apparently fully allied with the Lyons– arrive to beat up Gram senselessly.

Meanwhile, Jamal gets closer with his producer Derek (Tobias Truvillion), or ‘D Major,’ who was previously revealed to also be gay. One night, after taking one too many pain medications, Jamal sleeps with Derek and nearly overdoses. After Jamal doesn’t wake up, Derek frantically calls a friend for help. The friend puts Jamal under the shower, and he wakes up.

After the hack is resolved, Bernstein announces that Andre has been named President of Empire XStream.

Angelo (Taye Diggs), who continues to woo Cookie, is turned down by the Lyons’ matriarch. Cookie tells Angelo that she doesn’t want him to lose the election for mayor of New York because of his association with her, an ex-con. Angelo leaves, dejected, but then takes off his shirt on live TV after he is badgered by reporters on his relationship with Cookie. He does this to ‘stand in solidarity with her and with all women’ whose privacy has been stripped. Cookie watches Angelo do this on live TV.

At the end of the episode, Andre takes Nessa to a shady-looking alley, where he is shown to be meeting with Vaughn, who appears to have really orchestrated the hack, judging from the conversation, in order to help Andre gain greater power in Empire. Andre hands Vaughn a bag full of cash as payment for his help. Andre promises to pay Vaughn again after XStream fails. Andre is thus shown to be slowly turning into a corrupt gangster just like his father.

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