Captain Phil Harris’ final ‘Deadliest Catch’ episode sets records


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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


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