Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Deadliest Catch

Go To

  • Any time a boat or crewman is lost at sea. Usually made worse when they interview the survivors of a lost boat, and viewers get to see these badasses break down over what amounts to losing family.
    • It started early. In Season 1, the Big Valley was lost with only one survivor. Its captain was even the one that earlier demonstrated the EPIRB emergency beacon for Discovery. The same day the Big Valley sunk, a crewman on another boat fell into the ocean and drowned.
    • After the loss of Ocean Challenger in season 3, Captain Keith told the camera that sometimes he wonders if the losses of other boats was desensitizing him. He then promptly broke down in tears.
    • Advertisement:
    • Another bad situation was the Katmai sinking in season 4, with only four surviving out of 11 on board.
    • The Arctic Hunter sinking in season 10. Unlike the previous ships, all crew survived (thanks to the efforts of Elliott Neese and his crew), but the end of the episode showed what was left of the ship, now on the rocks, with the wheelhouse crushed in, pounded by relentless breakers...another shipwreck on the outskirts of Dutch Harbor, and another reminder of the perils of crab fishing.
    • The Destination sinking in season 13. No crew members were ever found. Sig and Keith were friends of the crew and were very effected by the news. Both of them were too upset to fish and Sig went home for the season.
  • The sight of several rugged sailors discussing the end of derby fishing around the second half of season 1, due to the fact that a number of ships were going to be out of work.
  • Advertisement:
  • When Northwestern ex-greenhorn Jake learned that his very ill sister had died. In a later interview he revealed that the Northwestern crew were like the brothers he never had (his late sister was the oldest of 4 older sisters).
    Jake Anderson: She's in a better place, Mom. (chokes up) She's finally beautiful now. She can run.
  • The latter half of Season 6 opilio season, with Captain Phil's stroke.
    • Freddy Maughtai encouraging Josh to stay with his dad: "The crab is always catch. It's harder to catch a dad." Doubly wrenching when it's revealed that Freddy's own dad passed away while he was fishing and he didn't go home because he didn't think it was that serious.
    • Keith's reaction when he gets the news about Phil's stroke.
    Keith: (choking up) Cut him some slack, Big Guy...cut him some slack.
    • Jake Anderson and Jake Harris talking after Captain Phil is hospitalized, with both boys facing the very real chance that they may lose/have lost their fathers.
      • Even more than that, earlier in the same episode, Jake Anderson was talking about his dad being missing without explanation, and how he wasn't letting himself think about it because he had a job to do. At the end of the episode, when he's talking about Phil being in the hospital, you realize that he was lying the entire time, because he hasn't been able to stop thinking about his dad.
    • Advertisement:
    • Watching the episode where Phil is in the hospital and the doctors say he'll live...when we know he won't.
    • The end of Phil's last episode, Josh Harris' phone call to his younger brother: "We lost Dad, dude."
    • The promos using Pearl Jam's "Rise" are quite bittersweet, especially the one that opens with a closeup on Phil's eyes and later has him say how happy he is to spend time with his kids on the boat and get to know them.
    • In the second-to-last-episode of Season 6, "Valhalla", Keith ordered his crew to set one pot over the side with its rope and buoys locked inside as he rang the Wizard's bell eight times, so that Phil would "always have a full one to come back to." That in itself was a touching show of respect, but Keith was so grief-stricken he could barely get the words out.
    • Also during "Valhalla", the footage of Phil's funeral, especially seeing the urn with a portrait of Phil and his two sons drawn on it.
    • And later in "Valhalla", as the Northwestern is sailing out for their final run, all the crew gather on deck and salute the Cornelia Marie...except for Jake Anderson, who is standing at the rail, sobbing openly. He eventually gets so upset that he has to leave the deck.
  • The toast to missing men at the end of the "Save Me" episode of After The Catch, which included the Seabrook's Moose and Justin Tennyson, the enthusiastic new guy from the Time Bandit who was flour-bombed into the crew only months before.
    • Jesus, the whole ending of that episode is a giant Tear Jerker. Scott "Junior" Campbell was clearly emotional recounting the death of his friend - and then Nick, Jake of the Northwestern's uncle, starts recounting how he lost a man three years ago while captaining a salmon boat, crying through it. Andy and Jonathan start crying to the point where neither one can speak and Jonathan leaves the table. Even Sig gets his moment: He recalls that he had gotten a job on a boat, but he broke his ankle getting on and he lost his job. That same boat was never seen from again. Just the way these stone-cold bad-asses talk about death on the Bering Sea is just... wow.
  • Phil, acknowledging that he's not going to be around much longer, admits to trying every kind of drug in his youth (well, presumably).
  • Phil's son Jake getting caught stealing his dad's pain meds (he'd been shown a little zonked-out earlier)
    • This could've easily fallen into Harsher in Hindsight territory, as Phil was extremely close to cutting Jake out of his life completely, but softened when Jake admitted he was an addict and begged for help. Jake's life has been hard enough following Phil's death; as of 2020, he still hasn't beaten his addiction, and went to prison in 2019 for drugs and DUI. How much harder would it have been if Phil's last lucid act was kicking Jake out of his life?
  • At one point, the stress has Keith falling back on his smokeless tobacco habit. He calls his daughter and lets her chew him out as motivation to quit.
  • After Keith's ship takes a horrible wave in season 5 one that injured three of his crew his voice is on the verge of cracking up as he admits he has to live with this for the rest of his life and has to wipe at his eyes. Keith may have an enormous hot blooded temper but his emotions swings back the other way and he can express hot blooded concern and distress just as equally.
  • The whole incident aboard the Alaska Juris in the Season 8 finale, with the Coast Guard being called in to help a guy who was struck in the head by a cable and died of severe head trauma soon afterwards. Hearing the Coast Guardsman that went aboard radioing "the patient is deceased" was just heartbreaking, as was one of the rescuer's accounts of the crew's reactions (that the captain was crying and other crewmen {specifically the deceased crewman's TWO brothers} were punching lockers in anguish).
    • Season 10 has a Coast Guard rescue swimmer who is fatally injured while evacuating a disabled ship. The episode ends with his military funeral. The whole incident really drives home the dangers the Coast Guard willingly expose themselves to in order to keep people safe.
  • Jake Anderson's decision to leave the crew of the Northwestern for another boat, which had offered him the captaincy in a couple years if he accepted. He'd stressed over the decision because leaving the Northwestern was like leaving home—the crew had helped him through so much of the hard times he'd been through—the death of his sister, of his father, and of Captain Phil (who he'd worked with for several weeks as part of a crew-member swap with Jake Harris). At the end, we're treated to a montage of moments involving Jake Anderson throughout the show.
  • Josh Harris, who was attempting to purchase the Cornelia Marie, checked on some shipping containers which contained most of the crabbing equipment and other memorabilia from the boat...only to find they'd been broken into, and most of the contents were gone.
  • From "Legend of the Northwestern": Norman "He Who Must Not Be Filmed" Hansen choked up remembering how he found his father after he had passed away... Norman couldn't continue and Edgar (whose daughter was being baptized that day) said their father had apparently known his time had come and found a comfortable chair, curled up, fell asleep and died of a heart attack.
    • The Hansens' mother (who basically raised the three boys while their dad was away) became choked up when asked if the three Hansen boys' father would be proud of his sons for running the boat and their involvement with the show — "Very proud."
  • Sean Dwyer, 23-year-old captain of the Brenna A, and his mother Jenna describing how his late father's dream of running a crab boat was dashed by ALS.
    Jenna: He was such a big, stocky man and by the end of it he could barely hold a fork.
    Sean: I watched my father die for eight years.
  • In Season 15, Keith stayed home with his terminally ill father while his brother Monte ran the boat for a trip, then they switched places. While Keith was at sea, he receives a phone call that his father has passed. Immediately he starts to tear up.