Empire: 6 Possible explanations for Cookie’s new lover’s incriminating ink

It’s been a hot minute since Cookie had that steamy fling with her former security guard so, naturally, we were hoping the Lyon family matriarch would get her groove back when hunky new concert promoter Laz entered the picture.

In full disclosure, I’ve been a fan of Adam Rodriguez (who plays Laz) for ages. Aside from his obviously impressive performance in Magic Mike, Rodriguez won me over years ago with his long-standing role as Eric Delko on CSI: Miami. He was the main reason I kept tuning in despite Horatio’s inexplicably perpetual head tilt.

So suffice it to stay I want him to stick around awhile, and I’d love it if he actually turned out to be a decent character. He has seemed almost too good to be true so far and, welp, you know what that means — he probably is.

Adam Rodriguez
Image: FOX

Although Laz and Cookie have been flirting for a few weeks, tonight they acted on that chemistry. Cookie knocked on his door and damn if she didn’t ask him to take care of her. And damn if he didn’t! There was just one major catch, though. When Laz took off his shirt, it revealed a longhorn tattoo in the center of his back — the same tattoo all of Hakeem’s kidnappers had.

But in the interest of giving the man the benefit of the doubt and because I’m so obviously already invested in the idea of getting to watch him every week this season, I’ve decided to explore the potential explanations for his seemingly incriminating ink.

1. He’s a Longhorns fan

OK, OK, I’m kind of joking with this one. Sort of. No, really — I am. The truth is I wish there was some entirely innocuous way to write Laz’s tattoo off, but it is not at all probable. Still, don’t ask me to give up hope yet that he is a Longhorns fan or that his character hails from the state of Texas or some other woefully implausible thing that might make him a normal guy.

2. It’s a front

Adam Rodriguez
Image: FOX

In a telling interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez explains of Laz, “Laz is very familiar with the streets. He’s very comfortable operating in that world and yet, has a business mind, which is why he’s been able to build a company that’s successful enough that he’s on Cookie’s list of people she’s looking to partner up with.” Laz is a shrewd guy who undoubtedly knows how to play both sides of the fence. He tries to convince Cookie to hire the kidnappers under the whole “keep your enemies closer” premise, so maybe he is doing the same — feigning solidarity with them for his own benefit.

3. He’s still undercover

Here’s a thought — Laz has mentioned to Cookie several times that he used to be a cop. We know he still carries, since he pulled out his piece last week when Cookie’s office was vandalized. And we know that he is very aware of the inner workings of the local gang scene. Since we know little else about him, isn’t it possible he could be back on the force as an undercover cop? Is it far-fetched? Sure. But it’s possible and would be an interesting spin.

4. He is bad, but he really does care for Cookie

Adam Rodriguez
Image: FOX

We all make poor choices from time to time, right? So Laz’s poor choice might just be running with a gang of violent hardened criminals who kidnap people in their spare time. Admittedly, as far as poor choices go, that’s right up there at the top. Love can change a person, though. Maybe Laz was originally working the Lyon family over for the gang, but his interest in Cookie causes him to stray from the plan in order to keep her safe. In the same THR interview, Rodriguez hints that there’s more to the story. Talking about Hakeem’s response to Laz, Rodriguez reveals, “I don’t think he’s sold on the relationship very easily but, as time goes on, maybe that changes.”

5. He’s the worst

I don’t think I have to tell you this is by far the least favorable outcome, if you ask me, albeit the most likely at this point. Particularly since in the teaser for next week, Taraji P. Henson (aka Cookie) says, “The audience is going to go nuts when they see Laz is on the bad guy’s side.” She also notes that Cookie is “oblivious” and “love will make you do dumb things.” But would they be giving that much away that quickly? Sounds like a ruse to make us believe he’s bad. Who’s with me? Long live Laz!

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