According to TMZ, upon his return to the “Empire” set on Thursday, Jussie Smollett’s first words to castmates were: “I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.”

The tabloid reported:

Sources on the “Empire” set tell us the cast and crew were waiting at least 30 minutes for Jussie to begin the scheduled scene. When he eventually showed his face he was very emotional, and surrounded by his family.

After that, he left the set. We’re told it was obvious Jussie had been crying a lot, so producers said he would have to come back later. He did, and we’re told he is currently shooting the scene.

As we reported, Smollett bolted from the mob scene outside court, and headed straight to Chicago’s Cinespace Studio … after his bail was set at $100k. News choppers and trucks followed him most of the way as he crossed town.

It’s hard to imagine what goes through the mind of someone whose life has just been turned upside down by a self-inflicted wound. Yesterday must have felt surreal to him.

The onscreen caption during Fox News’ coverage of the story on Thursday night provided a clue for what might come next. It said “Smollett admits he has a drug problem.”

Will his next step be to blame the incident on his drug problem and check into a rehab? The evidence against the actor is pretty compelling. He’s lost the sympathy of most Americans, except for a few like CNN’s Don Lemon. I can’t imagine what else one would do in his position.

Smollett is scheduled to appear in court on March 14th.