Deadliest Catch is a long-running (in its 9th season and counting) Reality TV show on The Discovery Channel that follows crews of fishermen during their two seasons on the rough Bering Sea seeking a valuable commodity — the enormous red king crab around October, and the opilio or snow crab around January. It is repeatedly stated that this is the "deadliest job in the world", and tragedy does occur, such as the sinking of other ships, as well as serious injuries and near-fatal accidents on the featured boats. The opilio season is particularly dangerous due to weather concerns. The show debuted in April, 2005 and is still ongoing.The show currently revolves around six main boats:
Captain: Sig Hansen (co-owner)
Prominent crew: Edgar Hansen (co-owner/deck boss, Sig's younger brother), Jake Anderson (apprentice deck boss), Nick Mavar Jr. (Jake Anderson's uncle), Matt Bradley(deckhand)
Captain: Keith Colburn (owner)
Prominent crew: Monte Colburn (relief captain/deckhand/Keith's brother), Gary Soper (1st Mate), Lynn Guitard (deckhand), Freddy Maughtai (deckhand), Lenny Lekanoff (deckhand)
Captains: Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand (co-owners, brothers)
Prominent crew: Neal Hillstrand (co-owner/deck boss, John and Andy's brother), Mike Fourtner (deckhand), Eddie Uwekoolani Jr. (deckhand), Scotty Hillstrand (deckhand, John's son), Josh Harris (deckhand), Axel Hillstrand(deckhand, Neal's son)
Captain: Scott Campbell Jr.
Prominent crew: Aaron Steiner(engineer/deck boss), Mac White (deckhand), Derek Haist (deckhand), Kevin "Kado" Davis (deckhand)
Captain: "Wild Bill" Wichrowski
Prominent crew: Kerby Mitchell (engineer, former captain), Zach Larson (deckhand, Bill's son), Nick Morrow (deckhand), Nick MacGlashon(deckhand), Mikey Mitchell (greenhorn, Kirby's son)
Captain: Elliot Neese(co-owner)
Prominent crew: Mike Neese (Elliot's father), Mike Vandervelt(engineer)
Another boat that was prominently featured in the past was the Cornelia Marie, captained by Phil Harris. Among its crew were his sons, Jake and Josh, and current Wizard deckhand Freddy Maughtai. Phil suffered a stroke and died during the sixth season (2010 opilio season). His sons tried to work toward buying their dad's boat in the seventh season, but friction with new captains thwarted that. They went to different boats in the eighth season—Josh to the Time Bandit, and Jake to the Northwestern (where he spent a few weeks on a crew exchange in the sixth season, 2009 King Crab). Jake also has serious recurring drug issues; in the ninth season, at least during the King Crab season, he's off the crab grounds to "deal with his demons".Two boats also featured in previous seasons include the Kodiak and the Ramblin' Rose. These were captained by "Wild Bill" Wichrowski and Elliot Neese, respectively. While these boats are no longer featured vessels, their captains have moved on to boats that are featured (the Cape Caution and the Saga, respectively).Other boats have been prominently featured, but not as much as the previous: Harry Lewis's Incentive; Wade Henley's Lisa Marie; Wayne Baker's Trailblazer; Larry Hendricks' Sea Star (Hendricks' crew retired, and now he captains a chase boat) and Jeff Weeks' Billikin among others.Due to a combination of extreme situations, smartass crewmen and genuine emotion (and a need to unclutter this page), there is enough material for the show to have separate Crowning Moment pages for each of these: Awesome, Funny and Heartwarming.In September 2010, John and Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit became embroiled in a $3 million dollar breach-of-contract lawsuit with The Discovery Channel over what Discovery executives claimed was the Hillstrand's refusal to complete work on an off-season show called Hillstranded. The Hillstrands and Northwestern captain Sig Hansen released a joint statement saying that "given the current situation with Discovery", they are "unable to continue participating in Deadliest Catch," with Hansen further saying that "the captains stand together, and me and my brothers support them 100 percent." Fortunately, as of October 10, 2010 the Hillstrands and Discovery have reached a settlement and all three captains have returned to the show. From here: "We're happy we worked everything out with Discovery," the trio said in a statement. "A deal's a deal. We're heading up to Dutch Harbor to start filming the new season of Deadliest Catch and hopefully it will be the best one yet."Although season 9 of the show is still underway, there has been major development that will affect season 10 playing out behind the scenes: Josh Harris now owns the Cornelia Marie outright and the boat will be back on the crab grounds for Kings 2013. Furthermore fan favorite Jake Anderson is no longer a crew member of the Northwestern. Whether or not Jake Anderson and the Cornelia Marie will be on season ten remains to be seen.
Ain't No Rule: Neese justifies setting his pots on top of Jr.'s (basically cheating since Jr. found the spot first) because you can't claim territory in the ocean.
All of the Other Reindeer: Evoked in season six by Jake Anderson after spending several weeks on the Cornelia Marie, in regards to his relationship with his crewmates on the Northwestern, in terms of how the former was much nicer to him than the later one in terms of actually listening to Jake and his feelings rather than shrugging him off and not having
The Alleged Car: Or rather alleged ships. Just about every ship has had some major need for repairs but the Cornelia Marie has really stood out in past seasons. Capt. Phil needed to get a huge engine overhaul in season 4 ... and then it still broke down. Even worse, in the opilio half of season 5, the Cornelia needed three huge repairs that held Phil up for a week and put him in a huge money hole.
Subverted with Jake Anderson, as his ambition has led to him ultimately winning the respect of Sig.
Elliot is getting hit by this hard: he used to care more about making money than about his girlfriend, and just when he really started making money she dumped him and took his kids with her.
The older captains mocked Jr. after he constantly declared his boat "the best" and himself "legendary" (in Revelations he admits he's deeply insecure about his legacy, especially as the son of a legitimately legendary captain). In After the Catch, though, while they still didn't consider Jr. "legendary", they acknowledged that he had become a solid crab fisherman, and had earned some respect for his skill.
Anger Born of Worry: Strikes Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit after deckhand Travis falls overboard during the start of the 2012 opilio season. After Travis is brought into the galley, wrapped in a blanket and still shivering (he was in freezing water for 2 1/2 minutes), Andy barges into the galley and yells at Travis:
Andy: DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!
Anyone Can Die: Several boats have sunk with many lives lost during the show's run. Ironically, Capt. Phil Harris and Time Bandit deckhand Justin Tennyson died while they were safely on land.
Andy: (after they almost tipped over trying to get to the dock) If I die within sight of land I'm going to be so pissed.
Ascended Extra: The Cornelia Marie was first seen in the second half of season 1, as a "partner vessel" in the old system with Maverick. Originally only to be seen planning with Maverick's captain, Phil Harris then assisted Maverick in the search for the sunken Big Valley. The Cornelia Marie would become one of the feature vessels for the next six seasons.
Captain Scott Campbell, Jr. also has a blink and miss cameo in season one, but does not become a regular character until Phil Harris died.
Awesome But (nearly) Impractical: Phil's burial at sea had about a half-dozen boats within as many feet from each other plus fireworks and automatic rifles. Capt. Keith later said he was mystified that the ocean was so calm and that nothing horrible happened.
Badass Beard: Several captains (and many deckhands) sport these. Captain Scott Campbell, Jr. has an especially prominent one.
Captain Jonathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit. His son, Scott, is a deckhand with a toddler back home.
Phil's dad is pretty bad ass, considering he and his crew survived a storm that knocked out all their power and they had to get back to port with no navigation and learned that everyone (including Phil, who was in the hospital) thought they were dead. He's still alive, too.
Badass Normal: The captains and crews, in a nutshell. Rodeo cowboys, firefighters, even Navy SEALs have all been unable to handle for more than a single season (in some cases, even a single day) the strain that fishermen who smoke too much, sleep too little, and don't eat well deal with year after year.
Among the few returnees are Josh and Jake Harris and Jake Anderson, and they all looked like scrawny teenagers when they first appeared (Jake Harris still does).
The Big Easy: After The Catch 2010 was in New Orleans complete with crawdad fishing, voodoo, and a jazz funeral march for the late Capt. Phil.
Hula and Luaus: The 2011 series is in Hawaii (hulas yes, luau no, at least not that I remember). Additionally, the closing music of the preceding episode sounded like a Hawaiian-language choir — perfect background music for attacking a "cathedral of ice".
The Wild West(ish): 2012's edition takes place in Colorado, where the captains went horseback riding, river rafting, and a bit of bull riding (John Hillstrand broke five ribs).
Edger Hansen has a very nice house, or at least one with a luxurious kitchen.
Phil had lived in BFHs but liked his two trailers the best, which sounds like a bit of a comedown until you find out it has a big HDTV, gold plated kitchen fixtures, marble counter tops, and maid service.
Big Screwed-Up Family: To a certain extent, the boats' crews. The captains for the most part act like tyrants (though in their defense, they have to), the crews' moods swing up and down depending on how the weather and fishing is going, and of course human nature dictates that any group of people who have to live in close quarters around the clock will get on each others' nerves very quickly.
In Season 7, the Cornelia Marie was the best (worst?) example, as red crab season captain Derrick Ray's style of running the boat broke the crew. He got on Jake's bad side by constantly accusing Jake of doing drugs on the boat (which, admittedly, it wasn't proved that he didn't); he got on both Josh and Jake's bad side by talking shit repeatedly about Phil for not teaching Josh and Jake everything they needed to know; he got on the rest of the crew's bad side for not being able to find any crab; they caught just enough to pay for their supplies but not any crew salaries; and Mark and Freddy quit, though for different reasons (Mark because he was burned out, Freddy because loyalty to Phil had kept him around for less money but he needed a raise).
Bittersweet Ending: Most definitely the 2010 season finale: All the boats (even Bill's) have successful seasons, various disputes are settled, and Jake Harris enters rehab, but Phil is gone. Worse, the replacement captain couldn't earn the respect of the crew, the fishing sucked, and someone (probably Jake) was doing drugs during the fishing trip. It got so bad that everyone quit for the season and Jake quietly took the first plane back home so he didn't look too suspicious.
Bottle Episode: After The Catch, a yearly special during which the captains (and some of the other fishers and crew and other guests) meet in a pub to trade stories and talk about the show. Usually hosted by Rowe, but season 3 was hosted by Cash Cab's Ben Bailey.
Bound and Gagged: To get back at Josh Harris for winning the crab bet and then bragging about it, the rest of the desk hands duct taped him to a ladder, and taped over his mouth.
Break the Haughty: Keith Colburn, captain of the Wizard and arguably one of the most aggressively ill-tempered Captains on the show, got this on season five. Health scare, goes broke repairing the boat, near death experience while diving while checking the boat for possible damage that was missed when the boat was repaired months earlier, really really poor fishing for the first half of the season, AND his brother was severely injured by a massive tidal wave that hit the boat. By the end of the season, Keith was basically drowning in a sea of debt that has since become a running gag in that, four seasons later, he's still owing his creditors a shit ton of money....
In one episode, Captain Keith got into a shouting match with a rookie cameraman that resulted in Keith shoving said cameraman down a hallway and then confining him to his quarters, which Keith later explained as being for the cameraman's safety so things didn't escalate further.
Johnathan on the Time Bandit threatened to "get rid of these cameras" when Mike Fourtner was griping to them about a disagreement with the Hillstrands instead of shutting up and getting back to work.
Break the Cutie: Greenhorns, especially if they're the captain's own family. Subverted with Jake on the Northwestern, who managed to earn Capt. Sig's respect in his first season and only started acting up in his second.
Bring My Brown Pants: "Wild Bill" recalled the time he literally scared the shit out of one of his crew by throwing him against the pots to break up a fight.
Crewman: You scared the shit out of him! Bill: I hope so! Crewman: No, I mean he literally needs to change his pants but he's too scared of you to go inside!
The Bus Came Back: Lenny retired from the Wizard during the start of season five. He came back for a single trip during opilio season when half of the crew was injured from a bad wave. Season six started with Lenny being back without a word.
Monte (Capt. Keith's brother): There's a bull sea lion! Is it lucky? Keith:We're in the middle of a [BLEEP]ing ice floe, does it look lucky?
Aboard the Time Bandit, Josh Harris used his father's method of sniffing out crab farts to set a string of five pots during a competition between the deck hands to see who could catch the most crab. He won the bet.
A less fortunate example for Wizard deckhand Lynn Guitard during the June 12, 2012 episode. The previous year, Captain Keith warned Lynn that the deckhand was on his last warning as far as tying the crab pots securely (too loose a tie, and the pots will shift as the seas buffet the ship, endangering the crew and the ship).
Keith: Okay Lynn, this is your last warning. You fuck this up again, you're gone, you understand me? If I have to have this conversation again, it's your last season on this boat.
Guess what mistake Lynn made again during the June 12th episode?
At the beginning of opilio '12 the crew of the "Time Bandit" infamously tried to de-ice their boat with a mortar. At the end they celebrated Uwekoolani Sr.'s retirement by setting off fireworks, which were revealed to him like this:
They have something like 20-30 cameras per boat, and killing practically all of them during a season is normal.
Also cameraman abuse by the elements ... and the fishermen, though more so in the beginning. (See also Breaking the Fourth Wall, above).
Captain Existence Failure: Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie suffered a stroke on January 29th, 2010, and passed away 11 days later on February 9. The boat was captained by someone else to finish out the season's taping, but Jake, Josh, and the rest of the Cornelia Marie crew's involvement in both fishing and the show was, for a time, up in the air. In Phil's episode of After the Catch Josh said that although Phil left them his part-ownership of the boat, they were going to take at least one season off to give it a major refurbishing after they scattered Phil's ashes at the start of the next king crab season. In the end, though, they went back to fishing that very next season.
Captain Obvious: Mac White from the Seabrooke gets an entire reel of his "observations".
Mac: [Crabs] like that cooooooold water, 'cause later they're gonna be in hot water — cooked up!
Canon Immigrant: It sure seems that way when someone moves to another boat.
Catch Phrase: Freddy Maughtai of the Cornelia Marie: "BEST ____ EVER!!!"
Cluster F-Bomb: It's rare that there's an episode that doesn't have at least half a dozen bleeped-out curses. It's especially bad if one of the captains is angry (especially Keith or Wild Bill) or a crewman has completely lost his cool (Rainwater's explosion on the Kodiak, for example).
Josh's birthday phone call to Jake (who was absent from the show while dealing with his issues) was about 85% bleeps.
Coast Guard: Quite prominently featured as the heroes they truly are; naturally they get a special thank-you in New Orleans.
Coast Guard Nettles (AKA "Noodles") astonishes the captains by relating that he and his crew came from disparate parts of the country and fit together right off the bat thanks to rigorous training and that they now train to rescue people from buildings with chainsaws.
Featured prominently when greenhorn Chris has to be airlifted off of the Wizard after suffering a massive seizure-like episode.
See Behind The Black for a surprise Coast Guard inspection of the Northwestern.
Of them all, the Time Bandit is probably closest — it has luxuries like a sauna, queen-size beds, a dishwasher, and even sports a Jolly Roger on the prow. She's definitely the "fun boat", according to her captains.
The Northwestern is specifically built for crabbing and is also one of the largest ships. Conversely the tiny Lisa Marie barely looks like it should be out there, and yet it gets the job done.
The Wizard is not only the largest vessel shown in the show (156 feet in length) but the oldest. It was built as an oiler for the US Navy during World War II.
Sig is campaigning to be on Dancing with the Stars, which explains his fancy footwork in New Orleans; he also provides the voice of Crabby, which is a cartoon version of the Northwestern in Pixar's Cars 2. He also revealed on Revelations that he was offered a movie role but turned it down.
Sort of: One of the "Northwestern" crew has a sweatshirt of them and the boat done up South Park-style.
Johnathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit and Scott Campbell Jr. of the Seabrooke made an appearance on the second episode of MythBusters' tenth season, testing various myths relating to their job, such as whether crab pots can be blown up, if taking short naps during 30-hour shifts improves a person's ability to perform their duties, and if it's possible to get pulled overboard and to the bottom of the ocean by getting caught in the rope of a crab pot.
Dark Secret: An "LA Times" article revealed that film crews for this and other action-filled reality shows aren't unionized and can't get insurance because they're so dangerous.
A strong opponent of the union push in action-adventure shows is widely recognized pioneer Thom Beers. A Harley-riding thrill seeker who got his start as an assistant at Turner Broadcasting and went on to produce the hit shows "Deadliest Catch," "Ice Road Truckers" and "Monster Garage," Beers recently bragged that he had just been in Alaska "drinking Jack Daniels straight from the bottle" with his "Deadliest Catch" fishermen.
While the burly, bearded producer didn't deny that his crews face danger on the job, he insisted that they are aware of the risks — and well compensated. Camera operators typically earn $700 to $1,000 a day on action shows.
"We realize the fact that they are putting their lives in danger, which is why we take care of them," Beers said. "We pay them very, very well, way beyond scale, for what they do."
Although Beers declined to discuss the effort to unionize reality shows, many of his peers say that they couldn't afford to produce their shows if they had to pay health and pension benefits and comply with union work rules.
Why Jake Anderson's dad disappeared: He was addicted to prescription drugs and bought them from "someone [Jake] didn't know" and was subsequently murdered on an isolated logging trail. After his dad's drug addiction was revealed the community "turned their backs" on the family; ironically the day before he was killed Jake and his family had decided to stage an intervention.
This goes beyond Jake's dad and applies to the bulk of the guys on the Northwestern in terms of their own drug abuse. Edgar, Matt, and Jake are all recovering addicts (Matt=Meth, Edgar=Drugs and Alcohol, and Jake= Alcohol), though the show goes out of their way to cryptically reference their vices.
Played straight with Jake Harris's drug problem, as being caught stealing his dad's medication red handed by his father led to him confessing his problems.
Determinator: THESE. GUYS. ARE. TOUGH. And they don't listen to "No". Case in point: Elliot Neese, easily the youngest captain, who also had an incredible run of bad luck the last two seasons, was fired as captain of the Ramblin' Rose after Opies 2012. His solution? Take out a loan and buy his own boat. Kinda takes "sink or swim" to a whole new level.
For months at a time, and a few of the captains have been divorced several times over. It's so bad that at least one man decided not to join the family business despite being good at it for the sake of his newborn son. Just two years later his worst fears are confirmed: his dog ran away, his wife left him and is now suing him for custody of their son, and he's still going out to sea.
Jake Anderson's father really did disappear; his truck was found, but he was considered missing until his remains were found and identified in late June of 2012.
In the season finale, a Coast Guard rescue helicopter is deployed to medevac a man on another boat who was injured by a cable. Usually, when the Coast Guard is called upon in an episode, they're able to make a rescue of some kind (though often it's a Bittersweet Ending), but not this time—the crew member was dead before he could be airlifted.
Dysfunction Junction: You've got a ship full of very tough men on a job where death or serious injury is a daily hazard, as well as being constantly exhausted from the work, while being away from their families for months at a time, half of it in the worst weather imaginable. It gets worse when the fishing is rotten, which kills morale and makes everyone even more stir-crazy. The captains often don't help things, either by driving the crews to work in really bad conditions or general jerkishness, and sometimes both.
Early Installment Weirdness: Season one had quite a few omission of familiar faces. Captain Phil Harris has a blink and miss cameo as part of a rescue mission when one of the boats sink in season one and doesn't join the cast full time until season two (and his son Josh doesn't become a regular until season four). Similarly, the Hillstrands and the Time Bandit doesn't show up until season two and Jake Anderson doesn't show up until halfway through season three, while the Wizard and Keith Colburn does not show up until the start of season three.
Shortly before Phil's death, a massive storm struck the Bering Sea. Afterward, the sea went eerily calm...and stayed that way for days, almost as if it were in mourning. Commented on by the captains, both in the show itself and in After the Catch.
Get complacent and turn your back to the ocean, get smacked by a wave. Keith was particularly unnerved going shellfish picking in Hawaii since it's nothing but turning your back to the ocean (sure enough a wave hit him so hard he almost fell face-first into a rock; fortunately his facemask protected him).
Season 1 ended on an awfully bittersweet note. On the one hand two of the ships hit records; on the other hand six had died, and it was the final season for Derby style fishing. While safer, the Quota system would make it harder for the crews to make money, as well putting a lot of crews out of work. This change has caused a number of tough captains to shed Manly Tears.
The future of the Cornelia Marie and her crew is very much in doubt after they all quit in the middle of king crab season.
Subverted with Edgar Hansen down stepping from his job as deck boss of the Northwestern at the end of season six, as his retirement (due to nagging injuries and a desire to spend more time with his family). He was back by season seven and has since attempted transitioning to running the boat by himself.
quits before Season 7, Opilio. He decided to return two episodes later, but had a special request for Opies: he wanted to run the ship, to his brother's surprise.
Equivalent Exchange: Season 8's red crab season was so great for the Time Bandit that they made a game out of their last string (each deck hand sets five pots and whoever catches the most wins money, and Josh Harris won). Opilio season started with Travis falling into the water (at the dock, thankfully) and later an attempt to de-ice the boat faster with fireworks wound up busting their coiler.
Escalating War: Prank the Hillstrands at your own peril; they will get you back.
Captain Sig and the Northwestern tried this after the Hillstrands freaked out Sig by launching 40 Chinese lanterns from upwind. At the end of opilio season, Sig and crew intercepted the Time Bandit on the way back home and launched a massive cache of fireworks at them. Of course, Time Bandit had their own supply of fireworks aboard, so they returned fire. Much fun was had by all.
And it's not over yet: the crew of the Northwestern declared war on the Time Bandit at the beginning of 2011's king crab season by sneaking aboard the Time Bandit while the crew was asleep and inflating a life raft in the middle of the crew's kitchen/living area. Then Jake Harris threw a bucketful of flour into his brother Josh's face when he came up to the wheelhouse to investigate.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Thousand-pound crab pots swing from cranes like giant piñatas (Insert "Soviet Russia" joke here). The water is so cold that, without a survival suit, you will die of hypothermia before you have a chance to drown. Ice floes in the water can smash through the hull of the boat. Ice can build up on the superstructure until it either breaks and falls on you, or gets so heavy it capsizes the boat. The ropes attached to the pots can wrap around your leg, dragging you overboard and down to the bottom, and possibly dragging you the length of the deck first. Giant waves break over the side of the boat, tossing you and your equipment around like so many bathtub toys. There's a lot of second-hand smoke from all the cigarettes.
Sometimes with almost supernatural instigation: On the Time Bandit in Season 7, a line snaps and encircles two crewmen in the space of two or three seconds; had they not jumped out of the way they would have been dragged over a second later by the weight of the crab pot.
It's been said that crab fishing has a 100% injury rate; it's not if you'll get hurt, but when and how bad.
One of the factoids on "Social Reload" was that in the bad old days an average of 37 fishermen died each year.
Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: An octopus comes up inside one of the Time Bandit's crab pots and freaks Andy out as it crawls across the deck because A) octopuses are creepy and B) they eat crab and scare them away.
Evil Overlord: Aboard ship, the captain is God, and you'd better not forget it.
The show's credits change to reflect the boats that are featured most prominently.
The credits for the sixth season featured the Cornelia Marie's crew first, and also featured a group shot of the captains which zooms in on Phil's eye as a scene transition.
The credits for the seventh and eighth season feature an image of Phil from behind a window, almost like an apparition. Likely intentional, reflecting his current status; the lyric playing over this is "where the faces are so cold", and the image fades to the faces of his sons Josh and Jake.
Fandom: The captains are a bit perplexed that not only are they recognized as stars, but they even have their own convention, CatchCon.
Fan Nickname: "Sucker Punch Hillstrand!", Keith's off-the-cuff insult to John Hillstrand. See Rant Inducing Slight, below — it's not clear whether Keith was reacting to the comment about "killing his brother", being shoved into a pile of scrap, or both.
Final Boss: Since each season always covers the Opi season, when weather is cold and the sea is more turbulent, there is always a super nasty storm at the end of a show season.
The Fishing Addict: Fishing is referred to as a dangerous addiction by the fishermen themselves, who are very aware of problems such a hazardous job (and subsequent rush of money, if you're good at it) can cause. Additionally: "It's called 'fishing', not catching."
Phil seemed to be going through withdrawal symptoms in a story where the fishermen were on strike and he was constantly pacing at meetings and muttering "We have to get out there, we have to get out there!"
Even the BBC got in on the act, with the rather more prosaically-titled Trawlermen.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Jake and Josh Harris: Jake falls asleep while everyone else is working and then has the gall to ask Sig if he can run the boat for a string (Sig seemed fine with it but Edgar, who didn't want him in the first place, refused) while Josh does everything he can and is saving up for a boat of his own. As for the other siblings Sig & Edgar are both very, very responsible, as are Keith & Monte and Johnathan & Andy (with a dash of crazy).
Footnote Fever: The "Social Reload" of the season 8 premiere, which was basically Pop Up VideomeetsTwitter. The next version had a few of the captains' twitters (plus a then-spoiler about Jr. winning the bet with Elliot and using the $1000 to pay for his engine). They've done this at least twice more, including the two-hour season finale.
Foregone Conclusion: Capt. Phil's death at end of opie season was, of course, known for months before the episodes aired.
Edgar revealed that he excused his drug addiction because "he never hurt anyone": he stayed away from his family in a hotel, he never shared with anyone, and it was never an escape from family conflict - he just got the urge and left for a few days. He quit when, basically, the drugs showed him that he was going to die if he kept using.
It's kind of jarring to hear Sig speaking Norwegian.
Played straighter: one of the older crewmembers of the Lisa Marie is Polish, and needs subtitles even when speaking English.
Freddy Maughtai, a Samoan, sometimes has to be subtitled when speaking English as well.
Genre Savvy: The somewhat superstitious nature of the fishermen, combined with clever editing and Tempting Fate, can make some of them seem positively prophetic.
Gentle Giant / Hidden Depths: Phil loved making elaborate bird houses, complete with bird furniture, bird stairs, bird bonsai and bird bathrooms. He also had an adorably tiny dog and an obsession with Meerkat Manor.
Keith used to be a saucier at a French restaurant before becoming a crab fisherman (and wondered why he did it when he saw his first, tiny paycheck), but as anyone who's seen Ratatouille or No Reservations knows being a cook absolutely does not make one gentle.
George Jetson Job Security: Averted, despite how close-knit some of the crew can become. In the end, fishing, especially high-dollar fishing like crabbing, is about bringing money home, and if you jeopardize that, you're gone.
One episode featured Bill Wichrowski firing one of his crew for being an all-around jackass. This was in the middle of opi season, so said crewmember wouldn't get his full percentage of the season's money, either.
Played straight with Lenny, one of the crew members on the Wizard. He mentioned in the "Best of Season 7" special that Captain Keith has fired him twice, and yet he was on the boat all throughout Season 7, so Keith must be changing his mind on those firings.
At the end of the 2011 king crab season, Keith fired Brady, the greenhorn who'd hired on at the same time as Chrisnote The one who had to be medivac'ed off the ship by the Coast Guard., for laziness, constantly whining, and basically being dead weight. Brady left the boat almost as soon as it was at the dock, and Keith had the rest of the crew applaud him as he walked away. Brady later came on After the Catch, and while Keith gave him credit for having the courage to do that, he and Elliot both lambasted Brady, who did little to prove them wrong.
Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Huge waves and swells are a constant hazard to boats and crews alike. In season 2, the Aleutian Ballad was slammed onto her side by a rogue wave that had to be at least 50 feet tall. A wave hitting the Wizard during 2009's opie season while crew were on the pot stacks led to broken ribs and awful bruising, as well as other injuries.
"BIG,BIG,BIG,BIG,BIG,BIG,BIG"...KERSPLAAAASH!!!! "GET THE F@#K DOWN"...KERSPLAAAASH!!!!
Norman Hansen, engineer and third co-owner of the Northwestern, hates being filmed and avoids the cameras whenever he can. Additionally, he refuses to talk to the cameramen, so by the second season, they'd given up and stopped even trying to film him, to his relief.
The observers who work on the boats. They're not allowed to be filmed by the camera crew while they're working even though they have to be on the boats to collect data for Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game.
Citizens of Dutch Harbor and St. Paul who aren't part of one of the crab boat crews will occasionally have their faces blurred out as well. An example of this was when the Alaska State Trooper tailed Josh Harris to the airport in season 7; other passengers in the terminal had their faces blurred.
This even extends to ships on occasion; non-featured vessels will sometimes have their names blurred, or bleeped when spoken.
Hollywood Voodoo: While they're in New Orleans, the formerly battling captains of the Wizard and the Time Bandit are sent to find a voodoo shop to spiritually patch things up. The Time Bandit captain is very uncertain of this since he's only heard of the evil Hollywood version, but after seeing a picture of Jesus in the shop he figures they can't be too bad ("I only need to listen to The Big Guy — and His Kid").
Hope Spot: John Hillstrand sends out encouraging news that Phil is recovering beautifully from his massive stroke, to the other captains' joy. Unfortunately...
Bill Wichrowski finally lands on great fishing seemingly for the first time all opie season, but it's thwarted by poorly secured pots that caused all the crab to escape. A cameraman who was too sick to shoot the filled pots didn't help either (to quote the producer, "G-BLEEPBLEEP-ing m-BLEEPBLEEPBLEEPBLEEPBLEEP").
Important Haircut: The crew of the Cornelia Marie (excluding Phil) will give each other Mohawks to "appease the Crab God(s)" when the catch is poor. This has happened twice, and both times it worked. Phil did shave his beard once, just for good measure, as he was stuck in the harbor and needed some luck. The tradition seems to have carried over to the Wizard with Freddie and hasn't lost any of its effectiveness.
Informed Ability: Jake Harris was frequently cited as a better crabber and better potential captain than his elder brother Josh by their own father Phil, despite the fact that Jake seems to have far worse of a work ethic (let alone drug abuse problems) than Josh does. When Jake and Josh are separated between the Northwestern and Time Bandit respectively in Season 8, the contrast is even more apparent.
Injury Tropes: The injury rate for crab fishermen is pretty much 100%. Excluding gunshot and arrow wounds (so far -- there was bow-fishing in New Orleans), it's rare when someone is not injured (The Wizard's captain getting cracked on the head by the boat, the Cornelia Marie's captain suffering from a pulmonary embolism that should've killed him instantly), nearly injured (multiple near-fatal-misses involving chunks of ice, giant waves, swinging/loose steel crab pots, loops of rope, slippery decks and open hatches ...), or just out-of-his-mind tired.
Here's what happened in the season 8 finale: A guy got the tip of his finger sliced off, another got his elbow almost crushed, another got his shin slammed by a pot (if his crew-mate was a little slower his whole body would've been crushed). It wasn't just bodily injuries either: Sig missed the last pot of the season.
It's Personal / You Insulted My Father: The Harris brothers put up with a replacement captain who wasn't a good match for the crew until he insulted their father and his way of doing things, then everything went to hell.
Calm weather, especially several days of it in a row, is never a good sign.
Calm weather, especially after several days/weeks of terrible weather, can make everyone complacent which is when the most injuries/deaths can occur.
If the soundtrack suddenly goes quiet after several full pots are hauled up it's usually a bad sign.
I Was Quite a Looker: Most of the captains certainly looked better due to simple age and having just started being captains whenever old clips or pictures of them appeared. But Phil actually looks quite dreamy in a picture where he's holding one of his baby sons.
Captain Keith comes off as this in the Greenhorn Special, saying something along the lines of "There's not much entertainment on a crab boat, so we're going to have some fun at a greenhorn's expense" while talking about the Wizard's reputation for being particularly hard on greenhorns.
Derrick Ray, the guy hired to captain the Cornelia Marie for the 2010 king crab season, comes across this way; constantly insulting and belittling the crew and making constant references to Jake Harris' past drug problems, even calling the cops on him (no solid evidence is found and Jake refuses a drug test, citing harassment). Josh and Derrick get into a shouting match and nearly get into a fight over the debacle later on during the After the Catch special.
"Wild Bill" Wichrowski will belittle his crew the instant they screw up, especially his son. That being said, Bill's crews have not been very good, and have made several major mistakes. In one case, two pots came detached from the crane because they were improperly tied; one crew member in the wrong place at the wrong time when that happens and he could be hurt or killed. Plus, Bill's tiff with his son Zach Larson came after Zach gave Bill a smartass response to Bill trying to teach him some hook-throwing pointers. Amazingly Bill's mood improves after Zach starts being a smartass right back ("Maybe I'll take your name and ruin your legacy"), which he sees as an improvement over his son's former flinchey/apathetic personality.
Elliot Neese will also snap at his crew over small things, frequently comes off as petulant and snotty, and has a tendency to abuse the beeper that lets the crew know a wave's coming. A lot of his issues are due to his personal life being in shambles (see Laser-Guided Karma below), but sometimes his conduct is just inexcusable.
Scott Campbell is rapidly developing into one of these in the ninth season. He offers to team up with Keith by sharing information about where the fishing is good, then barely a day later voids the agreement and lies when Keith calls him on it. Then he sails up to where Elliot is, and they spend the better part of a few days overfishing the area, to the point where both of their catches plummet. Elliot calls Junior and attempts to bury the hatchet, and Junior offers to team up with Elliot. So far, Elliot is keeping his side of the bargain, while Junior is almost gleefully plotting betrayal.
Jerkass Has a Point: While Derrick Ray did not come across as the best or nicest of captains, and he certainly was not loved by his crew, he did discover drug paraphernalia in the engine room as documented on camera, so his prior suspicion that Jake (or at least someone in the crew) was using marijuana was almost certainly correct.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sig Hansen. When his wife was interviewed for the Bottle Episode she says he's very sweet when he's home with her and their daughters. He's also heartwarmingly kind to Jake Anderson, although he doesn't skimp on the abuse when Jake screws up.
Jitter Cam: In addition to the usual abuse, the 2010 season premiere featured cameraphone footage of crewmen from one boat rescuing all four men from another, rapidly sinking boat, and again when another man had to be rescued after suffering from a heart attack. Cameras are also attached to hooks, pots, booms and helmets.
Karmic Jackpot: A deckhand falls off the stack on a nearby boat. The crew of the Time Bandit fishes him out of the water. The rest of their King Crab season is a record setter.
Keeping Secrets Sucks: Phil requesting his producer/cameraman keep quiet about his broken ribs and coughing up blood so the crew (especially his sons) wouldn't be distracted. Turns out it was in fact a pulmonary embolism that Phil was lucky to have survived; he could have dropped dead right then and there and no one would have known.
Kill It With Ice: Crab boats generally don't have hulls rated for going through ice, which makes the ice pack in opilio season a potential problem for them. The ice pack was an especially big problem in season 8; it covered the fishing grounds twice (the first time, only the Wizard and Seabrooke continued fishing). After that horrible winter the Hillstrands spent just about everything they made to upgrade the Time Bandit with new engines and inch-thick "armor" for the hull.
Neese bets Jr. $1000 who can catch the most blue crab, then sets his pots right on top of his rival's — a major faux pas akin to cheating. Neese's catch is so poor (and only gets worse when he moves to another location) that the boat's owners threaten to send in someone else, if not fire him altogether. Meanwhile Jr. (after moving to a new location) gets a huge number and a gentlemanly congratulation from Neese, and then Neese's girlfriend left him, took their kids and won't talk to him, and his deck boss moved to the Seabrooke. And When Elliot finally does manage to get through to his ex-girlfriend in mid-season, he discovers that she's already seeing someone else. Later on, after an attempt to patch things up failed miserably, she filed (and won) a restraining order against him. And then he got fired for almost letting a sleepy crewman run the boat into an icefield. Things are looking up for him in the next season, though: he bought his own boat and (somehow) got custody of his kids.
Junior lies to Keith about how he's doing on the blue crab patch they're supposed to be working together (Keith started out well which is why he wanted to share with Junior, but then Keith's area dried up); the next episode finds Junior's deck boss laid up with a staph infection and no antibiotics, and the only one who can help is Keith. Keith gives them the meds because it's the code of the (vast, empty, merciless) ocean to help each other in times of need.
Lighter and Softer: Captain Keith Coburn of the Wizard must have taken an anger management class or something between Season 7 and Season 8, because we haven't seen anywhere near as many blow-ups from him during Season 8 (if any). Probably the biggest example of this shift is in an episode set during the 2012 opilio season, when during an argument about miscommunication (sparked by Lenny not speaking loudly enough on deck, causing a buoy to pop as the Wizard was trying to leave iced-up St. Paul harbor), Lenny tells Keith "fuck off" (resulting in an Oh Crap look from Lynn Guitard). Keith's response? Go out on deck ... and tell Lenny to project towards the loud hailer to prevent similar miscommunications in the future. Keith likely would not have reacted nearly as calmly to a comment like that just a season ago.
Dips into Fridge Brilliance when one remembers that Keith felt bad about blowing up at the cameraman near the end of the previous season and admitted that, as captain, he should have had better self-control. (See Took a Level in Jerkass, below.) It's quite possible that he's made a conscious effort to correct that flaw.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Each boat features at least five crew, not including the captain, and the show features at least four boats each season, plus the boats that only show up occasionally. Do the math.
Man on Fire: "You see, when you're on the Bering Sea for so long, you go a little crazy..."
Whenever the captains hear that a crew has been lost.
Entire crews upon learning of Phil's death. The Northwestern crew was especially visible, startling to the average viewer of that normally stoic vessel.
On a happier note, all of Jake Anderson's friends and family at his wedding which was officiated by Sig!.
Meaningful Funeral: Phil's funeral was attended by family, friends, and biker buddies. Half his remains were placed in a beautifully airbrushed Harley-Davidson gas tank (the other half was scattered at sea during king season), which was buried next to his mother's grave. There was also a huge memorial for the fans which took place at a convention center in Seattle, he got a nice send-off in New Orleans, and finally a burial-at-sea attended by all his friends.
Money, Dear Boy: Why would you leave your family for as much as four months at a time, endure little sleep, unhealthy food, unsafe working conditions, hellish weather, and knowing you could very well die any day of the week? Well, how would you like to earn a year's salary in those four months?
Elliot's discovering that maybe he should've spent more time with his girlfriend and their kids instead of obsessing over money.
Has become a running gag with Keith, since season five left Keith drowning in debt due to massive amount of repairs needed to fix the Wizard and a cancer scare inbetween seasons four and five, left Keith flat broke, which led to deep deep debt when he did very poorly fishing in season five.
Similarly, the need to make money to pay off debt has become a running gag on the Time Bandit as of season nine. After suffering near catastrophic ice damage in season eight, the Hillstrandt brothers sunk every dime they had to essentially rebuild their ship to make it capable of withstanding ice damage and even then, it will be two-three years before they are back in the black.
Mood Dissonance: At the end of "Fearless Leaders" the Seabrooke is bringing up fully loaded pots but the crew is too tired from staying awake through a 39-hour grind to celebrate. Meanwhile, the crew of the Ramblin' Rose, who were on the verge of mutiny after Elliot (basically) ditched them to try and reunite with his ex-girlfriend, begin celebrating as they haul up huge pots while Elliot learns his ex-girlfriend has filed a year-long restraining order against him.
Again with Elliot and his crew: The season 8 finale shows all the boats cheering that their last strings are full ones, except for the "Ramblin' Rose" — while their pots are full the only one happy is Elliot; the crew has pretty much had it with him and his drama. It appears they were just blowing off steam and six months later Elliot claims they've come back.
Mood Whiplash: The morale of the captains and crews can drastically shift from pot to pot depending on the catch, which is frequently mined for drama.
More Dakka: The Time Bandit has an almost unnerving amount of firepower for a civilian fishing vessel.
How does the crew honor the passing of fellow fishermen? They break out pistols, AK-47's, and AR-15 rifles and fire until they run out of ammo!
When John got annoyed over all the ice in the Bering Sea he stormed out of the wheelhouse, grabbed a shotgun, walked out on deck and started shooting at the ice and yelling "And don't come back!" No coilers were harmed this time, but it scared the crew.
Mike Fourtner: I just had a 12-gauge go off by my head!
The Movie: Sort of. There was a dramatic recreation of a ship's sinking and rescue that was advertised as a movie.
Multicultural Team: Several of the ships' crews are multi-ethnic, including Inuits, Poles, Norwegians, and even the odd Polynesian. One doomed ship had several black crew members (see Aneurysm Moment, above).
Must Have Caffeine: One way to combat the constant fatigue that comes with the job is to drink lots of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and/or energy drinks. In Season 2, the crew of the Rollo was forced to ration their coffee grounds, and suffered accordingly.
Capt. Sig stops smoking after some mysterious chest pains. He starts again an hour later. Later on, Sig threw out his cigarettes when he found out about Phil's stroke, and several other people also dropped their tobacco habits.
Phil himself managed to drop from nine packs a day to just one.
Capt. Keith's daughter has been trying to get him to quit chewing tobacco; it's not going so well.
Some of the crewmembers, including Captain Sig and Josh Harris, are currently using e-cigarettes.
Capt. Johnathan swore off cigs for his granddaughter (it lasted an hour), and still snuck one or two while hooked up to an oxygen tank after breaking four ribs and collapsing his lung in Colorado. Andy (who doesn't smoke) wants to help him so they made a bet with Mike Rowe: If Johnathan can quit and get healthy enough to run 5 miles in under an hour, he'll host an episode of next season's "After The Catch".
The Mutiny: Practically unheard of in a crab fishing boat.
The closest thing resembling a mutiny was on the Early Dawn. After a disastrous starting run of strings for the king crab season, a greenhorn, who was the son of the boat's owner and far from a model fisherman, was able to convince his father to lease the boat's remaining quota rather than continue fishing. This was done with the consent of the other deckhands and behind the captain's back.
The remaining Cornelia Marie crew were so frustrated with their replacement captain and his bad fishing spots that they seriously discussed leaving and ultimately quit king crab season early.
Neese's crewmembers don't like his abrasive leadership, and really don't appreciate it when he basically has them fishing in a hurricane during the 2011 king crab season.
Elliot's crew doesn't appreciate how his personal problems caused him to ditch them for a week (on top of really poor fishing), then wait until they're back at sea to pick on them about their attitude, then abandon his post as they're bringing up good numbers (they do feel sorry for him once they learn about his ex's restraining order).
Narrator: Dirty Jobs's Mike Rowe. When he had to choose between which show to host and which to narrate (they were paired together and the execs wouldn't let him host both), he chose to narrate Deadliest Catch since his usual schtick of cracking-wise on camera wouldn't be appropriate on a show where there was a real chance someone could lose their life.
Nausea Fuel: invokedDuring a "behind the scenes" special, one sequence featured the toilet on the Cornelia Marie being so stopped up that it was in danger of overflowing. To fix it, Phil slammed the boat into reverse, forcing water up the outlet and causing an eruption of sewage that sent one deckhand running into the galley retching. Jake's comment: "Man, that's a lot of shit."
How the crew views the captains and how the captains view themselves (especially Sig).
How the captains view the operators of the processing plants that they deliver their catch to.
New Meat: Or as they're called on a fishing vessel, "greenhorns". One crewman estimated greenhorns have an 80% failure rate across the crab fleet.
The Wizard has had approximately one new greenhorn per season, and virtually none of them lasted; one episode of After The Catch mentioned that the Wizard was the hardest on greenhorns. At the end of the 2011 king crab season, both of the Wizard's greenhorns were gone - Chris had to be medevac'ed off the ship and Brady was fired.
Subverted by the new (2012 opilio season) greenhorn on the Wizard — he's sufficiently good at his job that even Keith is impressed and gives him a raise mid-season.
Nintendo Hard: Opie season, which is in the middle of winter in the Arctic ocean. There's no extra lives in this game. See Badass Normal.
No Fourth Wall: It's a documentary where the subjects are aware of and encouraged to talk to the cameras.
A ship came within touching distance of a man whose ship had sunk; unfortunately it was a giant car-carrier (the closest opening or rung was 20' above the water's surface, and on top of that there was a storm) and the people on board couldn't do anything but watch as the man drifted past.
Phil should've died immediately of his massive stroke, but doctors were able to relieve the pressure on his brain in time to save him. He was regaining movement on his paralyzed side and the doctor was quite confident about starting an eight-month therapy program when he had a fatal "event".
No Such Thing As HR: Apparently an ideal that Captain Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit thinks America should aspire to, judging by his comment in the "Best Brawls" special:
(after making a comment along the lines of "I should be able to fire someone because I don't like their face") Andy Hillstrand: I mean, whatever happened to that in America? All this "human resources" crap, fuck that.
Oh Crap: Spoken lots of times during particularly dangerous seas or when something goes wrong.
In season 8, greenhorn Chris Scambler on the Wizard starts convulsing:
Chris would reveal in that season's After The Catch specials that he was unable to articulate that he believed he needed help badly, and so deliberately answered wrongly (possibly alluding to double vision).
In the 7/17/12 episode, the entire crew of the Northwestern has a collective Oh Crap when they find out that, while in really choppy water, the ship's slack tank has filled up with water, greatly increasing the risk of capsizing. Sig later reveals that that same situation sank his father's boat.
Ominous Fog: Doubly so because it not only lowers visibility, it can coat boats with ice faster than just the water.
Once an Episode: The boats' lengths, mentioned just about every time the action cuts from one boat to another.
In one scene, Josh Harris is wearing a hat with the Hurley logo covered with gaffer's tape — poorly: it barely covered the middle of the logo; the next scene has him shot from the other side, and word Hurley (with tiny version of the logo) is uncovered. Currently, any boardsports logos are just ignored to the point where as of 2011 the Cornelia Marie's sorting table is coated with DVS Shoes logos and one crewmember showed up wearing an unblurred Hurley jacket.
Two hilarious examples occurred on the last two shows in 2011: When Scott Hillstrand was looking at photos of his son they blurred out the Batman logo despite it being really obvious who the kid was dressed as (it was Halloween); a scene in one boat's kitchen had a cereal box directly behind someone's head, as if to highlight how poorly the box was taped over (imagine two thin lines going through "Cap'N Crunch").
The Hillstrands love fire: They've shot rockets at each other, fired off flares in memory of their father, sent up about a dozen flying lanterns just to screw with Sig, and shot off a semi-automatic rifle at Phil's burial at sea.
Rant Inducing Slight: Occurs about five times per season per boat, especially if the season's greenhorns are particularly poor.
Captain Keith of the Wizard was very upset when his brother didn't wake him up to see a pod(?) of walrus, the reason being that every time he's seen walrus while fishing it was a good season.
Keith appeared to be trying to get one of the Time Bandit crew to join his boat (he says he was just joking), which infuriated the Bandit's captain to the point where he shoved Keith into a pile of scrap metal in front of the other captains.
Just before Jonathan shoved Keith, he made a reference to Keith "killing his brother", in reference to an accident with a giant wave that severely injured Keith's brother Monte. As might be expected, Keith did not take that insult well.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jake and Josh. At the end of Opies 2011 they're even wearing corresponding hoodies.
Role-Ending Felony: It seems that an ex-greenhorn (who was already wanted when he joined the show) robbed a bank and fled to Canada.
Sadistic Choice: Elliot has to choose between loads of crab and the respect (not to mention earnings) of his crew or going back to port and dealing with his ex-girlfriend's restraining order. He chooses his family. It contributes to his getting fired from the captain's job at the helm of the Ramblin' Rose (due to low productivity), which is why he's on the Saga now.
The Hillstrand brothers are now doing advertisements for Geico. In-series, Andy also drinks from a huge Geico mug.
Captain Keith (one of the more hot-headed captains) doing lighthearted promos for Despicable Me during a marathon.
Captain Keith also appears on a commercial discussing acid-reflux disease.
In Season 8, he can be seen in commercials for Lifelock.
The Other Wiki notes that people had a problem with Sig making a deal to endorse crab sold by Wal-Mart, which was acquired from the Barents Sea fishery. Sig severed the relationship when it was discovered the manufacturer was selling crab caught by poachers.
Series Mascot: At first Captain Phil was the face of the show with Captain Sig being a close second. Since Captain Phil's death Sig, along with Edgar and Jake Anderson, they get played up as being something of the main charactes of the show in ads.
According to Sig: "Pranks are like fishin', man, serious business!"
Phil's love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. When Jake called his dad to brag about his new bike and mentioned it wasn't a Harley, Phil promptly fired him and hung up. When Josh brought his new non-Harley to his dad's, Phil told him to take it off his property. Josh thought he was joking. Phil punched his son square in the chest. They've never brought any non-Harleys onto the property since. When Phil pulled up to one of the After the Catch bars in his latest Harley, he greeted Mike Rowe with "I don't want to talk to you." Mike reasoned he wanted to talk about Harleys, something he had no experience with. Phil confirmed this, then tossed Mike the keys and tells him they'll talk when Mike gets back from his ride.
A greenhorn on the Cape Caution (Wild Bill's new boat) screws up a good spot by packing a little new bait on top of the old instead of putting all new bait in; crabs don't like old bait and as a result they lose an entire day's worth of fishing.
Shotguns Are Just Better: One episode had Johnathan Hillstrand blow off steam by going out on deck and firing off a 12-gauge shotgun.
Mike Fourtner: "I just had a 12-gauge go off right by my head!"
This was used to great effect during Capt. Phil's final episode. The viewer can feel the tension with Phil's time winding down ... and a storm hits the fleet at the same time.
Season 8's red crab season occurred during the biggest hurricane to hit Alaska since the 1970s.
The subsequent opilio crab season took place under the threat of a rapidly advancing polar ice pack.
Super Drowning Skills: No matter how good of a swimmer you are, falling overboard in the Bering Sea is pretty much a guaranteed death sentence due to hypothermia if you're not rescued within a few minutes. Even having a special survival suit on will only prolong your life a few hours.
Take a Third Option: When the red crab quota was halved in season 8, newer captains Neese and Jr. chose to go after the harder to find but more expensive blue crab; experienced captains Sig, Wild Bill, and the Hillstrands stuck with red crab, and Capt. Keith decided to go after both. It didn't work out the way Keith planned at all.
The wife of the Maverick's captain took part in watching the helm, cooking good food, waking up deckhands, and boosting morale.
The head producer, who let Jake Harris stay at her place after he left rehab and is lovingly and respectfully called "Evil", "Beelzebub", and "[CENSORED]" by the captains, who also consider her the admiral of the Deadliest Catch fleet.
Team Pet: While not a permanent example, animals that sometimes stow away on the boats often end up becoming this, the crews letting them stay aboard due to believing said animals may bring them good luck, such as when Edgar Hansen discovered a rat onboard the Northwestern in season 8.
The Teaser: Seasons 6 and onward feature a cold open (pun not intended), as opposed to the opening narration of prior seasons.
Anyone who didn't run from the ice in Season 8. When almost everyone else stayed home, Jr. went back out and got big numbers until he moved away from the hotspot and Keith decided to go back out after Monty throws dice ("Any combination of fives is good." — *gets pair of fives* — "Well, that's it!") He gets huge, huge numbers.
After Travis fell off the boat at the start of opie season, Andy declared that "nothing bad can happen now!" Cue poor fishing and Eddie Uwekoolani Sr. and Jr. getting nailed by falling ice.
On the Northwestern: "If we keep hauling numbers like this we'll sink the ship!" Edgar: "Something doesn't feel right..." If he didn't think to look inside one of the tanks (which was about to be hidden by stacked pots) the boat could've toppled over just like the Hansens' dad's first boat.
10-Minute Retirement: After several seasons of saying he's getting too old for this, Edgar Hansen retired after red crab season in 2010. Two episodes later he says he'd like to return for red crab; as for opies he'd like to run the ship (Sig: (long pause) "We didn't discuss this....").
He later decides to sit out the 2011 opilio season.
He returns to the Northwestern in season 8, though it's hinted he still wants to be captain.
A somewhat different example: after Captain Keith of the Wizard brings an incredibly green newbie aboard during 2011 King Crab Season (Chris, the guy who would eventually need to be medevac'd out), Keith relates an instance where he had a "this is gonna suck" moment:
Keith: The last time I had a guy this green on board, I knew we were screwed when his mother called me and wanted to know who did the laundry on the ship for the boys.
If you think you know what to expect if you want to be a crab fisherman, you don't and that can get you killed.
Jake Anderson, who stole the older Hillstrand captain's iconic USA jacket, then bragged about it on camera. For that he was hung then burned in effigy.
Jake Harris probably thinking he could get away with stealing his dad's pain killers on a boat in the middle of the ocean that's bristling with cameras and microphones.
Basically anyone who forgets who is the boss on the boats and that these particular boats are covered with cameras and microphones.
Josh, the Seabrooke greenhorn who thought he could do this job after watching some YouTube videos. He didn't even last six hours and was possibly only hired to remind viewers how hard the job is. In a follow-up interview he says he's learned his lesson and wants to try again.
The beginning of season 8's opilio season:
Sig (angrily): You're all idiots!
Edgar (mocking Sig): I'm an idiot! You're an idiot!
Jake Anderson (via Twitter): We're all idiots! (and after the Time Bandit crew tried to de-ice their crane with a mortar and accidentally broke their coiler) YOU IDIOTS!!!
Resident Woobie/Determinator Jake Anderson of the Northwestern at the beginning of Season 6. Seems like his rapid ascent from greenhorn to full share deckhand, although well earned, left him with a sense ofentitlement. It earned him a few weeks of exile on the Cornelia Marie.
Mike Fourtner's attitude after the Hillstrands chose him to be a captaincy candidate over their own son/nephew (they ultimately decided on another long-time, non-Hot Blooded crewmember who they just plain overlooked).
Keith certainly did in the next-to-last 2011 episode, physically assaulting a cameraman who dared protest because Keith yelled at him for not being his personal coffee boy. In fairness to Keith, however, during a later special episode, he said that he regretted losing his temper that time, saying that as captain, he should have done a better job holding it together.
Trailers Always Lie: A normal situation will be edited into something dire in previews. Of course, this being a reality show set in a genuinely dangerous situation, you can't tell if it really will go wrong...and some of the trailers don't overstate a dire situation, like when greenhorn Chris on the Wizard falls seriously ill.
Another Kodiak crewman named Rainwater was washed out of a job after he couldn't stop causing drama.
Probably more intentional: Ramblin' Rose captain Elliot Neese, similar to a certain FBI agent.
Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Played straight all over the series. In the infrequent "behind the production" episodes, showing the camera guys and what they have to put up with, they puke all the time.
“Well Done Son” Guy: Captain Phil with his sons, Jake and Josh; Captain Jonathan with his son, Scotty; the captains in general to the greenhorns.
Sig outright said he considers Jake Anderson as his son.
Subverted in Season 6 King Crab with Wild Bill's son, Zack Larson.
It Got Better as Zack Larson is on the Kodiak for Season 7. Season 8 revealed that Bill didn't think he was pulling his weight, though Zack's tweets seemed to indicate he didn't see anything unusual about it (or at least didn't consider it to be "yelling")
Wild Bill: "Zack's a great kid, he just has no balls". Considering Wild Bill's dad was a Marine drill sergeant who was so scary that young Bill would leave as soon as he got home, Bill's concern for his son — who he didn't even want to become a crabber — is positively cuddly. The other captains chime in that their dads were pretty much the same (with the addition that their dads would tell everyone but their kids how proud they were of them), although Bad Ass Grandpas tended to be pretty cool.
What the Hell, Hero?: Neese setting his crab pots on top of Jr's is basically cheating since Jr did all the work finding the crab (Neese rationalizes it by noting that no one can claim territory in the ocean; for the aftermath see Laser-Guided Karma above). There's also telling/threatening your ex-girlfriend's mother that you're going to take her grandkids to Mexico.
Jr. stated in After the Catch that the biggest reason he was angry was that Captain Elliott had not just potted him down, he'd done so in a way that caused the lines of the pots to be tangled up, which carried the danger of both captains losing those pots.
Wring Every Last Drop Out Of Him: If you're a cynical viewer. The producer took great care to say before the season started that it was Phil's decision to keep filming because he wanted his story to be complete, regardless of the ending.
You Look Familiar: Long-time viewers recognized Elliot's new boat, the Saga, from way back in the pilot and Season 1.