Here is the economics from the 3rd episode of the second season of HBO's Deadwood. This is the richest source of intelligent economics in the major media. As I suspected, the first two episodes were economics-poor because they bridged the first and second season. In this episode the economics content of the show really hits its stride.
Francis Wolcott comes to town and announces to Farnum that he is interested in buying an "assortment of claims". Farnum remarks that it is wide of Wolcott to hedge. It would be more correct to say that he is diversifying. Specifically, hedging involves buying assets in a way to lock in (paper) profits on some of them, while diversification just means buying a set of of assets to reduce your risk across the set. The former is typically done ex post to making (paper) profits, while the latter is generally done ex ante to reduce the risk inherent in attempting to earn profits.
Later, Farnum tries to run a con on Wolcott. He offers him a sealed letter, supposedly written by Wild Bill Hickok, allegedly containing information about the location of a rich gold vein. Farnum offers to pay Wolcott $100 to deliver the letter, but wants Wolcott to pay $10,000 for the letter, since he may just want to open it and exploit the information rather than deliver it (note there's an implicit contract there - that will never be fulfilled - for Farnum to repay the $10,000 if the letter is delivered still sealed ). This is a (simple) sequential game with a call option at one of the terminal nodes. Clearly the first node choice for Wolcott is to buy (for $9,900) or not to buy. At the buy node, his choices are to deliver the letter (and hopefully collect $10,000 for a $100 profit) or to open the letter and collect an uncertain value. The latter is clearly a call option - the most he can lose is the $9,900 and his upside potential is infinite.
So, Wolcott buys the letter for the $9,900 balance, and not surprisingly there is no useful information in it. Wolcott asks for his money back and is denied. Farnum delivers a quick platitude about caveat emptor. Unfortunately, for Farnum, Wolcott is better player from a bigger game. Wolcott has valuable asymmetric information, namely that he is an agent acting on behalf of George Hearst (yes, that Hearst). Revealing this snare convinces Farnum to begin backpeddling. Yet Wolcott doesn't really want his money back; instead he enlists Farnum in spreading rumors that the legality of all the gold claims is in question. Later Wolcott enlists the help of Cy Tolliver in spreading this rumor too. Well-defined property rights are viewed by economists as a key to understanding why people make risky investments - they are more inclined to undertake risk when they are certain that their property right will guarantee that they receive any profits. By calling into question the legality of existing property rights, Wolcott and Hearst are discouraging investment in claims by the current claimholders. Since the claims are call options whose value is largely determined by their upside potential, Wolcott and Hearst are reducing the value of claims by making it less likely that the upside potential can be made more certain.
Reputation and credibility effects have become increasingly important in economics over the last 30 years. In particular, credibility is established by building a reputation for acting in a particular way. This is usually a desirable thing, but it can have unusual consequences. In Deadwood, Al Swearengen has developed a reputation as a man not to be crossed or trifled with. So, when his door is locked and he does not answer, his minions are afraid to force the door. The problem for Swearengen is he is barely conscious from bladder stones and sepsis.
Lastly, Trixie wants to better herself, so she asks Sol Star to teach her bookkeeping - a skill that might allow her to get out of the brothel, or perhaps support herself after her desirability fades. Nothing comes of this, but later Trixie uses an accounting metaphor to explain one of Swearengen's odder actions - the employment and protection of a differently-abled woman named Jewel. Jewel is not a liability since "there's entries on both sides of the ... ledger". It isn't clear yet what asset Jewel provides for Swearengen (although readers of my posts from the first season may recall that Jewel deals guns to the prostitutes).