Don't get comfortable calling Taraji P. Henson "Cookie from Empire"—she deserves more respect than that. 

She may have surprised some by stealing every scene she was in during Empire's maiden voyage, but she's hardly a rookie. Since moving to Los Angeles nearly 20 years ago, Henson has ascended the ranks, moving from an office job to bit parts, becoming a lively character actress, and finally arriving at the top of the mountain. It took Henson years to shake the "Yvette" brand that her animated performance in Baby Boy earned her, but her turn as ride-or-die chick/brilliant A&R Cookie Lyon on arguably the year's best show has erased that.

If that showing doesn't result in her cleaning up at the Emmys and Golden Globes, someone call the authorities. It will be the year's biggest robbery.

Tonight, Henson will bask in her glory, and TV audiences will bask in her radiance, as she slides beneath her biggest spotlight yet: hosting Saturday Night Live. Prior to that, soak up everything you didn't already know about her.

Follow Julian on Twitter @JRK316.