I have a confession to make. The inspiration for this piece was not Laurence Fishburne (credited in the opening as "Larry"), but Jeff Goldblum. His role in Bill Duke's Deep Cover is one of my favorite roles for the actor -- a chance to see him play a complex part as a drug-addled family man/insecure Jewish lawyer/sexually curious villian. But, the title of this article is "Their Best Role", and, to me, Goldblum's best role is still in David Cronenberg's The Fly. It would've felt dishonest to call the David Jason character Goldblum's personal best.
When I started to think about the movie's leading man, though, I began to consider that Fishburne may never have been better than he is here. He's settled into being a reliable character actor, in movies (Armored) and television (CSI), but there was a time in the early/mid 90's (basically immediately following Boyz In the Hood) when Fishburne was making a decent stab at becoming a honest-to-goodness leading man. Deep Cover was a film riding on the crest of a wave of low-budget "urban" crime stories spawned by the success of New Jack City during that time, but it stands apart due to the character work of the leads, FIshburne and Goldblum.