I'm glad Hoke got a series, they're fun and weird and worthwhile, but Miami Blues really belongs to Hoke's antagonist, Fred Frenger Jr. a con man with frighteningly violent capabilities who steals Hoke's badge and gun (even his dentures) and goes on a crime spree around Miami impersonating a policeman.
Freddie stole the story from Hoke, and Baldwin stole the role from Ward, but Jennifer Jason Leigh stole my heart.
She plays Susie, a call girl and student - half-worldly, half naive - who falls into a relationship with Junior who she's not sure she if she loves, but he's sweet to her.
He's a shit, really, but he can be sweet in his way. That sweetness is important to the audience's affection for him. Junior is a scam artist and violent psycho whose fortunes are amusing to track as they rise and fall by balls and luck, but without that sweet side that only Susie brings out, he'd be only be entertaining for a little while instead of memorable for decades.
Of course the same sweetness that makes him lovable, makes him vulnerable. Without it he'd never have kept Susie for as long as he did, but he may not have lost her either. When Hoke tells Susie the truth about Junior it sounds unbelievable to her. Junior told Susie he was legitimate and the cop is trying to convince her that Junior is a dangerously violent criminal...
When Junior comes home from a hard day at work she serves him dinner. That's their routine and it gives them both pleasure. He makes the money, she makes the home (Corny? Sure, but it's a blissful symbiosis for a little while). When Junior bites into the bad pie we can see how awful it tastes. His eyes are watering and he chokes trying to answer her when she asks if he likes it.
Of course he does. He tells her she's a great cook and she's made just about the best pie he's ever had in his life.
In a movie full of outrageous scenes that make me laugh and cringe, it's this perfect little romantic atomic sourball of an exchange that's my favorite and really makes the movie stick.