« Previous Post | Show Tracker Home | Next Post »

Captain Phil Harris' final 'Deadliest Catch' episode sets records

Captain Phil Harris died on last night's episode of "Deadliest Catch" and 8.5 million people tuned in to see how Discovery and the show's producers handled this delicate matter.

That's not just a record audience for the series, but it also made the episode the third-most-watched telecast in Discovery history -- behind "Raising the Mammoth" and "Walking With Dinosaurs," which both aired in 2000.

I know I'm still thinking about Josh Harris' sad call to his brother, Jake, in rehab to let him know their father had passed away. That the Cornelia Marie captain died Feb. 9 seemed an especially cruel turn of fate, since it appeared his health was improving. Viewers had just seen the beautiful goodbye scene with Josh and his father: Captain Phil kissed his hand and put it to his son's face, and then Josh leaned down and kissed his father's forehead.

Josh Harris wasn't expecting that to be their final goodbye, but it was. And it was the viewers' final goodbye too. After Josh left, the cameras showed Captain Harris staring out the window at a beautiful view of Anchorage, and that was it.

Whatever new health crisis erupted, viewers didn't see it. We just saw Josh Harris reacting to the news of it, returning to the hospital, praying for his father, and then his phone call to Jake.

It was incredibly moving and, considering that this had never happened on a reality show before, executive producer Thom Beers should be commended for his respectful treatment of the Harris family and his viewers.

Discovery will air a two-hour tribute to the famous fisherman next Tuesday at 9 p.m.

You can watch the last seven minutes of Tuesday night's episode, "Redemption Day" below:

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Video credit: YouTube


The family of Captain Phil Harris braces for the end of the "Deadliest Catch" season

"Deadliest Catch" executive producer talks about the show's soaring sixth season

Comments () | Archives (55)

Rest in Peace...your job here is done!!!!

God bless you Captain Phil. I never got to meet you but after 5 1/2 seasons watching you, I felt like you were like a Dad to me. I know you are in heaven.

R.I.P. Captain Phil Harris. Goodness, you were & always will be part of our family as well as Jake & Josh, the whole crew and the entire family of “The Deadliest Catch” Forever remembered & Never forgotten. The joy, laugh’s, tears, tension, & goodness of everything you did was unmeasurable. Thank you so much for being in our lives & sharing so much with us all. Jake & Josh, God Bless you young men & your journey through life for all you are & will become. May your father’s life fill your lives with strength & a journey you both will be proud to look back on & smile with Grace of your father’s love & the love for him. His memories live on forever. May each of you find the strength to accept the loss of life’s greatest…….Thought’s, Love, & Prayers to all……..

RIP. captain. our family in alberta are praying your your family....

this is to captain harris family, so sorry for the lose of a great man and captain i might have not been part of the captain's crew but i whatched from home captain harris will be missed very much, hopefully the crew of his ship is holding up well. I could tell from whatching on tv that Cap. harris loved his crews and his boys to the fullest of a farters love could go. RIP CAPTAIN Harris'

I didnt expect to so moved by that clip. I watched this awesome show. Sometimes God takes the good ones home early.
My prayers go out to the family.

Wow-heartbreaking. Beautifully handled - kudos Tom B and your cameraman. God Bless Capt Phil for letting us share this with him and his sons - and letting us into their lives for all of these seasons. Makes a lot of other "reality" tv seem so vapid and puts a lot of stuff back into perspective. This boys and girls, is "REALITY" tv.

This was great TV handled with grace and wisdom. The producers had to deal with not just Phil's death but the fact that we all knew it had happened. Instead of faking some surprise they embraced the truth and handled it in a way that was truly memorable. The editing of the cross cuts (coupled with yet another brilliant choice of music) between the hospital and the fleet battling a storm emphasized what has always made this show special: that real people are doing real jobs facing real risks. We always knew that the sea would take someone one day, we just did not know how. The show has always treated its subjects with respect and its viewers as adults. This episode lived up to those ideals.

This is for Jake & Josh I want to tell you to keep your heads up high. I know how it is to grow up without your father always beening there when you needed him, but what counts is he was there for you when you needed him the most. Watching the show yall father loved yall very much and wanted nothing but the best for yall. To lose him before your ready is going to be hard but just think about all the good time you did get with him. I wont say it gets easier but it softens. Yall will be in my prayers. Sorry he was a great guy.


one of the toughest.the sea did not get him and he mastered her ang got what he wanted out of her with gr8t skill.i have lost a man of srength and respect.i will grind to the bone and grave out of shear love for a strong man.peace and grace to you brethren,my mentor sits in his wheelhouse..

Thanks to Capt. Phil for allowing "us" into his everyday life and office. A way of experiencing a life that 99% of most folks would ever want to try. May GOD Bless his family . RIP PHIL......

We are truly gonna miss Captain Phil. He has blessed my life greatly. I lost my dad last November and watching Mr Phil, and the rest of the captains in Deadlest catch made me smile and relax and laugh and cry. It is the best show on tv these days. I love all the crew. Mr Phil shows how man can be tough but gentle. He proved a man is man. He showed you love your kids unconditionaly.

Spent many TV evenings with Capt Phil and family. Good people! Will miss Capt Phil. Sons will pick up pace no doubt!

The show was tough to watch even though I knew it was
coming. Capt. Phil and the other DC Skippers and Crew
seem like family as I have watched the show from the
very beginning. I will surely miss Capt. Phil's humor.
Josh and Jake, it was obvious he loved you boys so much.
Even when he blustered at you. You were his pride & joy.
My thoughts and prayers are with you boys, and with the
fleet who have lost a dear friend and co-worker.
RIP Capt. Phil.


Beyond greatness and bitterness enchanting sea
chasing precious bounty, underneath where wrecks lay
in this wheelhouse my fears linger we individually pray
insanely brave enough to dwell the untamed sea

new morning displays calm sights, on stormy weather
frigid waters where my anchor suspended , sea birds play
pots been soaking cross fingers , haul em in
hoping for great, catch as in the rail she comes in

today's blue sky but rainbows color are unseen
in dutch harbor i duck that once a teenager stood in
it matters not my circumstances ,wrath that awaits
sore unrested body yet unbowed head i prevail

i am the skipper of my life the captain of my soul
weary i am, but unafraid , righteous man i depart
ive'd leave my days few people could understand
beyond my passing awaits the maker to grab my hand .

i made this for the skipper phil harris
God bless you for touching us in different ways..

It was sooo sad that he had to pass at such a young age..We are soo proud of Jake for keeping his promise to his dad...that moment between Josh and his dad had my husband and I in tears..it was hard to watch such a strong man lay there sooooo weak. Our prayers go out to his family and to Jonathon Hillstrand..it is awesome to see he had u there too...I know you will help show his boys how to keep his dream alive with the boat and continue to fish and keep his memory alive everytime the Cornilia Marie sets said on another season of crab fishing ..God bless all of you

Captain Phil was a hard working man who was well loved by his family, friends, and fans. My whole family are fans. My father cried the day the news told the world he had died, but it really hurt him to say farewell while watching the last episode. To Captain Phil's family and friends, we send our deepest sympathy and respect for a great man!

When I watched the final episodes of Captain Phils life I couldn't stop crying. This planet has lost a wonderful man, father, and crab boat Captain. I would be proud to call him my Father. Rest well Captain Phil and catch all those crabs in Heaven. You will be missed ........

1 2 3 | »


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: