Inside Lucious Lyon's Villainous DNA

In the glorious world of TV, Empire's Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) is in good company. He’s like J.R. Ewing, Walter White, Frank Underwood, Tywin Lannister and Erica Kane all rolled into one. In time for the season-one finale of Empire, here’s a breakdown of Lucious’ villainous DNA through other small-screen baddies we love to loathe. 

If highly effective people have seven habits, highly effective television villains have seven sins. Let’s take a look: 

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Like Lucious, good old Tywin’s sin of choice is lust and both men lusted after their sons’ women. 

Lucious bedded Jamal’s beard-of-a-wife Olivia (Raven-Symone) but what Tywin (actor Charles Dance) did was worse. He slept with Shae (Sibel Kekilli), the love of Tyrion’s life. 

No wonder Tyrion (Emmy winner Peter Dinklage) killed him in inglorious fashion (ahem, he was on the toilet). Jamal (Jussie Smollett) won’t have to go that far. Lucious’ life threatening illness will do the honors.

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Lucious and Tony (the late, great James Gandolfini) share a gluttonous love for food, wine, money and sex—especially sex with women they should leave alone. 

Anika (Grace Gealey) alluded to all of Lucious’ sexual indiscretions but we actually saw Tony’s. He even tried to hook up with Christopher’s (Michael Imperioli) fiancée Adriana (Drea de Matteo) at one point. 

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One of TV’s best villains of all time, J.R. (deceased icon Larry Hagman) was a bourbon-swigging philanderer who was married twice. 

He was also a ruthless and sinfully greedy businessman, and just like Lucious, stopped at nothing to stay on top financially. J.R. had the oil business and Lucious has the music industry; each got grime underneath their fingernails.  

J.R.’s henchman was dirty Dallas police detective Harry McSween (actor James Brown), who would trump up charges against J.R.’s rivals. Lucious has Vernon (Malik Yoba), who paid a man to take the murder rap for Lucious after Lucious killed long-time friend Bunkie. 

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Speaking of murder, Lucious is not above it and neither is Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey). 

His sin is wrath and it was through wrath that Frank had Rep. Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) killed. He did the deed himself when he shoved his mistress, journalist Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), in front of a moving subway train when she started asking too many questions. Whatever it takes to become POTUS, right?

Lucious, meanwhile, shot and killed Cookie’s cousin Bunkie (Antoine McKay) when Bunkie attempted to blackmail him. (Seriously, why did Bunkie threaten Lucious and then meet him in a deserted area alone? That wasn’t smart.) 

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If J.R. is Lucious’ male role model, Alexis is his mother figure. 

Also known as Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan, our girl Alexis (Joan Collins) could cut down her enemies with her eyes and make the most powerful men fall to their knees. That said, she could also be quite envious of Krystle Carrington (Linda Evans), Blake’s (the late John Forsythe) new wife. 

Expect a lot of shade and envy when Lucious learns how close Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Malcolm (Derek Luke) have become.

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Technically, none of these TV villains are slothful. They work hard at being bad. But Walter had his lazy moments and so does Lucious.

For instance, WW lazily and maliciously stood by and watched Jane (Krysten Ritter) choke on her own vomit. Lucious is also incredibly industrious but it was kind of passive to have Vernon seek out a sucker to do the time for him, no?  

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Lucious—at least to our knowledge—hasn’t faked amnesia, dressed as a nun or kidnapped anyone, unlike Erica (Susan Lucci). Perhaps this will happen with Lucious in season two.

Until then, Lucious and Erica are both guilty of pride. That’s why he wouldn’t allow his son Andre (Trai Byers) to become the company’s president. It’s also one of the reasons Lucious refuses to accept Jamal’s homosexuality and Andre’s mental illness.