Show: Luke Cage
Status: Returning Series
First Aired: September 2016 (Returns in 2018)
Country: United States
After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) becomes a fugitive trying to rebuild his life in modern day Harlem, New York City. But he is soon pulled out of the shadows and must fight a battle for the heart of his city – forcing him to confront a past he had tried to bury.
Mike Colter as Luke Cage
Mahershala Ali as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes
Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard
Simone Missick as Misty Knight
Theo Rossi as “Shades” Alvarez
Frank Whaley as Detective Rafael Scarfe
Sônia Braga as Soledad Temple
Frankie Faison as Pop
Season One – Debuted September 2016
- Moment of Truth
Luke Cage, an escaped convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin, keeps a low profile as a sweeper at ex-gangster Henry “Pop” Hunter’s barbershop, and as a dishwasher at crime boss Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes’ nightclub, Harlem’s Paradise. Cage spends one night as a bartender for Stokes, filling in for Dante, who calls in sick. Dante is actually shooting up an arms deal between Stokes’ men and gang leader Domingo Colon with his friends Shameek and Wilfredo “Chico” Diaz. Dante panics and is killed by Shameek, who escapes with Chico and the money. NYPD detectives Misty Knight and Rafael Scarfe investigate, and impound the Hammer Industries weapons that Stokes was selling. With help from “Shades” Alvarez, who works for Stokes’ supplier Diamondback, Stokes tracks and kills Shameek and retrieves his share of the money. Stokes’ men also support his cousin Mariah Dillard, a councilwoman, and demand contributions to her cause from Cage’s landlords. Cage fights them off, but refuses payment for his actions.
- Code of the Streets
Pop asks Cage to find Chico, as Cage owes Pop for keeping his convict past and superpowers a secret. Pop wants Chico brought to the barbershop, which is considered to be the “Switzerland” of Harlem. While out, Cage sees Cottonmouth deliver Shameek’s money to Dillard’s memorial Crispus Attucks Complex; Dillard used her campaign donations to refurbish Harlem’s Paradise for Cottonmouth, and he is repaying her with the money from the arms deal. Cage finds Chico and convinces him to hide out at the barbershop. Knight and Scarfe visit the barbershop looking for Chico, but Pop keeps his location secret, and instead sends Cage to offer a parlay to Cottonmouth. The gangster agrees due to growing up on the streets with Chico’s father and Pop, but his right-hand Tone is tipped off to Chico’s location by Turk Barrett. Tone shoots up the barbershop, injuring Chico and killing Pop. Returning with the money, Tone is thrown from the roof of the nightclub by Cottonmouth, who mourns Pop’s death. Dillard takes the remainder of the money to Crispus Attucks.
- Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?
Stokes offers to pay for Pop’s funeral, and after explaining that he had not known what Tone was going to do, tells Cage to let go of the matter. Cage finds out from a regular customer, Bobby Fish, that the barbershop is facing closure due to unpaid bills, and decides to take Stokes’ money to cover the debt and re-open the shop. He visits Chico in hospital and learns that Stokes’ plans to move all of his money to Crispus Attucks during a crisis. Cage begins targeting Stokes’ business, framing Colon. Stokes moves all his money to Crispus Attucks in response, and Cage attacks the complex while Dillard is out, taking out her guards and stealing a small share of the money to give to Fish. Knight and Scarfe arrive soon to impound the rest of the money. Chico approaches Scarfe, offering to testify against Stokes and revealing that it was Cage who attacked the complex. Scarfe, who is actually on Stokes’ payroll, kills Chico and tells Stokes about Cage. Stokes goes to the restaurant where Cage is living and fires a missile at the building.
- Step in the Arena
In the rubble of the destroyed restaurant, Cage remembers his past as policeman Carl Lucas—framed for a crime and incarcerated at Seagate Prison, a private detention facility run by C.O. Albert Rackham. He befriends fellow inmate Squabbles; develops an attraction to psychologist Reva Connors; is forced to engage in illegal ring fights by Rackham; and crosses paths with Shades, also an inmate then. Lucas and Connors plan to expose Rackham’s activities, but he learns of this (after torturing Squabbles to death) and has Lucas brutally beaten. Connors asks Dr. Noah Burstein, a scientist conducting illegal experimental procedures on the inmates in exchange for reduced sentences, to try and save Lucas with a procedure that causes rapid healing. Rackham sabotages the experiment, and the resulting accident gives Lucas his abilities. He escapes and meets up with Connors, starting a new life with her under the name “Luke Cage”. In the present, Cage pulls himself and his landlady out of the rubble, and reveals his abilities and name to the media.
- Just to Get a Rep
Claire Temple arrives in Harlem to visit her mother, Soledad Temple, in whom she confides about past experiences giving medical aid to enhanced people including Cage. Stokes begins extorting the citizens of Harlem to cover his debts, blaming Cage to try turn the neighborhood against him. Cage fights back, helping defend the citizens and return their property. Cage confronts Stokes to demand that he stop this, and Shades recognizes him as Carl Lucas. Shades reveals to Stokes a new type of weapon, the Judas bullet, built from alien metal and based on a prototype stolen from Hammer Industries, that could kill Cage. With Stokes unable to afford it, Diamondback will use it to kill Cage himself in exchange for control of Harlem. Stokes instead decides to steal the weapons from the failed deal with Colon and sell them to get the money to buy the Judas bullets. Scarfe takes the weapons from police evidence, but does not deliver them to Stokes. By then, Knight is informed by NYPD Captain Betty Audrey that Scarfe is under investigation.
- Suckas Need Bodyguards
Scarfe attempts to blackmail Stokes, but is critically shot by him and forced to escape to Pop’s barbershop. Cage and Fish are out for breakfast at Soledad’s restaurant, discussing the future of the barbershop, where Claire meets up with Cage. The pair discuss his abilities as they walk to the barbershop, where they find Scarfe. Claire treats his injuries. Knight is teamed with Lieutenant Perez, who is also on Stokes’ payroll and ordered to kill Scarfe. Knight deduces this, and tricks Perez into implicating himself before arresting him. Cage retrieves an incriminating ledger from Scarfe’s apartment, but Knight sees him and he, Claire, and Scarfe go on the run. They are on their way to 1 Police Plaza to turn over Scarfe and the evidence when they are ambushed by mercenaries working for Stokes. Cage fends them off, but Scarfe dies from his injuries. Stokes is arrested based on Scarfe’s evidence, with Dillard informed of this by a reporter who has just exposed her possible involvement in Stokes’ criminal activities during a live television broadcast.
Scarfe’s ledger is found inadmissible and Stokes is exonerated. He threatens to expose Cage’s real identity and have him sent back to prison, and Cage decides to leave Harlem. Claire convinces him to stay and fight. Stokes reminisces about growing up with Dillard and their grandmother, mobster Mama Mabel. Stokes’ musical talents were encouraged by his uncle Pete, whom Mabel later forced Stokes to kill after learning Pete had made side dealings with her rivals and had molested Dillard. Audrey stands down following the corruption at her precinct, and is replaced with Inspector Priscilla Ridley. After talking with Ridley, Knight begins to question Cage when he returns the stolen weapons (after taking them from Colon). Dillard is forced to resign from the council, leading to an argument with Stokes in which he insinuates that she liked being abused by Pete. Dillard kills Stokes, and Shades helps her frame Cage for the murder. Cage tells Claire about his past, just as he is shot by Diamondback—who knows him as “Carl”—with a Judas bullet.
- Blowin’ Up the Spot
Claire gets Cage in an ambulance to a hospital; but they are attacked by Diamondback en route. They take refuge in a women’s clinic, where Claire examines Cage’s tissue to find a way to take out the Judas shrapnel. Candace, a waitress and hostess at Stokes’ club, tells the police that it was Cage who killed Stokes, making Knight suspicious of Dillard. Knight calls Cage and informs him of the accusation, while another officer triangulates his location. She arrives at the clinic, attempting to arrest him; but they are attacked by Diamondback again. Cage recognizes him as his childhood friend Willis Stryker, with Stryker blaming him for leaving him to “rot”. Cage follows Stryker to the United Palace and overpowers him, but he manages to escape. Dillard secretly pays Candace for testifying against Cage. In custody, Claire insists that Cage is innocent, making Knight so angry that she assaults her before the inspector intervenes and has Claire released. Stryker confronts Cage on a sidestreet, reveals himself as his brother and shoots him with another Judas bullet, knocking him in a garbage truck.
A police psychologist is tasked to examine Knight. Cage is detected by two policemen, whom he beats up before escaping. Stryker blames Alvarez for Stokes’ death. Dillard meets Colon and convinces him to arrange a meeting with all the local crime bosses. Cage reunites with Claire, who convinces him to let her take him to Burstein for treatment. The inspector releases Knight and tasks her to find Cage, who arrives at Burstein’s with Claire. They give him the drive containing the data he needs. Stryker interrupts Dillard’s meeting with the crime bosses, killing all of them except Colon. She tells Stryker that the video of Cage attacking the policemen has made him an enemy of the city; and Stryker can now sell the Judas bullets to NYPD. Burstein dips Cage inside acid, hoping that it will soften his skin, giving the former the chance to remove the shrapnel. However, the pain of the procedure causes Cage to go into cardiac arrest.
- Take It Personal
Claire and Burstein manage to revive Cage and take out the shrapnel. Stryker kills a policeman, framing Cage. Cage finds out that he was chosen as an experiment subject long before he was injured in Seagate. He and Claire look at Connors’ files and find videos of her, proving that she was the person who chose Cage, upsetting him. The police get angry and get more aggressive to find Cage, with one detective beating a teenage boy. Dillard shows support for the boy and arranges a ceremony in Harlem’s Paradise. Cage threatens Burstein not to replicate the experiment and leaves with Claire and the drive. However, Burstein is revealed to have a copy of the data. In the ceremony, Dillard insists on Cage’s fault and the need to arm the police against him. However, her fellow party member, Damon Boone, secretly tells her he knows the truth. Cage and Claire arrive at Harlem’s Paradise while Knight arrives too, attempting to arrest Stryker, who shoots her before Cage interrupts and tries to escape with her; but they are surrounded by the mercenaries.
- Now You’re Mine
Cage escapes to the kitchen with Knight while Stryker takes Claire, Candace, the servant who testified against Cage, and the remaining civilians hostages. The police surround the club; but inspector Ridley does not authorize any assault. Cage and Knight escape to the basement using a secret entrance in the kitchen just before Stryker’s men storm in. Claire tends to Candace’s wound, with the latter revealing the truth to the former and telling about where Cage and Knight might be. Claire escapes and joins the pair, tending to Knight’s wound. Stryker uses the loudspeakers to demand Cage to meet him by threatening to kill the hostages. Cage leaves to meet him. Alvarez finds the secret entrance and confronts Knight and Claire, who manage to overpower and lock him. Stryker kills Dillard’s fellow party member Boone. Cage arrives and frees the hostages, excluding Candace, whom Stryker uses to cover his own escape just as the SWAT team storms in and forces Cage to surrender using the Judas bullets provided by Dillard. Cage, Alvarez and some other mercenaries are put in custody.
- Soliloquy of Chaos
Cage manages to escape from police custody, while Knight works hard to locate Stryker and clear Luke’s name. Stryker has Alvarez released on bail, then orders Zip and his thugs to kill him, but Alvarez prevails and kills them. The tide of public opinion begins to turn back to Cage, although the NYPD is still determined to bring him down. Candace meets Knight and says that she will testify against Dillard if Knight protects her. Knight takes her to Soledad’s. Alvarez approaches Dillard and suggests they get Cage on their side by giving him evidence of Lucas’s innocence, and that they all work together to defeat Stryker. Cage finds Barrett, who is working for Stryker, and forces him to reveal Stryker’s location before locking him in a dumpster. Colon and his men attack Stryker and his mercenaries. Stryker manages to defeat them and escape. Cage arrives and saves a wounded Colon. As the parties converge on Pop’s to parley, Stryker attacks, wearing a powered suit which allows him to match Cage’s strength and invulnerability. Cage tasks Knight to go after Dillard and Alvarez while the former engages Stryker.
- You Know My Steez
In flashbacks, Stryker helps Lucas become a boxer, eventually leading to the latter winning an important match. In the present, Cage and Stryker continue their fight inside and outside the barber shop. In the confusion, Knight drops her phone and Dillard loses the files which prove Lucas’s innocence. Cage tries to reason with Stryker, but eventually knocks him out when the suit’s power system fails while Dillard is arrested. Alvarez uses Knight’s phone to lure Candace out of hiding and kills her, without whose testimony Dillard walks free. Ridley blames Knight for keeping Candace at a private place instead of protective custody. Federal marshals arrive to arrest Cage for his escape from Seagate. Claire kisses him before he leaves promising to call a skilled lawyer she knows to help him out. Fish finds the Lucas files in the barbershop. Dillard re-opens Harlem’s Paradise with Alvarez by her side. Knight goes undercover in the club again. Claire considers taking up self-defense lessons. As Stryker recovers in hospital, Burstein enters his room.
Synopsis courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation