DEADLIEST CATCH Saga captain Elliott Neese completes rehab, has a ‘new outlook’

Deadliest Catch Saga captain Elliott Neese

The current season of Discovery’s award-winning reality series Deadliest Catch has been focused on the impact of Super Typhoon Nuri on the fleet. For Saga captain Elliott Neese, though, it’s been the turbulent inner storm of drug addiction that has posed the biggest threat to his (and his crew’s) fishing season, and potentially his career.

During last week’s episode, fans watched as Elliot handed over captain duties for the Saga to relief captain Jeff Folk. After the behind-closed-doors, audio-only scene, Elliott exited to find Discovery cameras outside his door. Elliott told the crew that he didn’t want any of his conversation to be shown on television, and that he would be very angry if it did air. (Needless to say, Elliott is indeed angry.)

After handing over the wheel of the Saga, Elliott–e-cigarette in hand–decided to burn some calories by working on the deck, where his temper flared. Among other things, he threw a water bottle at the wheelhouse because Folk was unable to quickly locate the switch for the deck lights.

So what happened to captain Elliott Neese? Did he lose the Saga? According to his Twitter account, Elliott spent 60 days in the Passages drug rehab facility in Malibu beginning late in 2014:

He later pointed out that everything viewers are seeing now was taped more than six months ago. “You all realize what your watching was filmed back in October it’s now May,” he tweeted, mentioning again that he went to Passages and adding, “I’m doing great now!”

This wasn’t the first time in rehab for Elliott, but it appears this may have been his first time where he was really motivated to go. “Im feeling great,” he tweeted back in early December. “When you go to a place on your own and are not forced there is a huge difference!! That means you really want it !!”

Elliot tweeted this photo from Malibu:

So what about everything that’s happening on screen this season? Elliott says a lot of that is just editing. “All you people out there only see what DC wants! There are worse things going on on other boats but they just choose to expose my hardships,” Elliott tweeted last Tuesday.

Earlier that day Elliott watched the preview trailer for the episode and compared it to fiction:

Elliott talked more about how he is portrayed on the show in an interview with KTVA back in February. “I don’t think the role of the villain is fair, but I signed on to be part of this show,” Elliott said. “They can portray me whichever way they like. I don’t necessarily agree with it or like it, but I have to deal with it.”

So what about the “reality” of Deadliest Catch? “At times it is definitely over-animated or overdramatized, but I mean it’s a TV show at the end of the day,” he said.

Original Productions executive producer Jeff Conroy spoke with Yahoo TV this week, with most of his conversation centering around Elliott’s drug problems. Conroy was asked for his reaction to Elliott’s decisions in the episode:

Knowing what’s going on, you look at that and go, “This is a person with a real problem.” He’s at that point where he doesn’t want to fully face it. Last year, the stuff we had with him going to rehab — the things he says in the car are shocking. He’s talking to his dad about drug use and [saying] “I don’t have a problem.” That’s the point: He’s not thinking clearly. Something is inhibiting the way he thinks and changing his judgment to a point where it’s not rational.


Conroy is also asked about the tense scene between Elliott and his dad in which his dad tries to ascertain exactly what is going on with his son in as non-revealing a way as possible. “The fact that his dad is there is what makes it so much more of a powerful story,” Conroy says:

His dad doesn’t need to fish, he doesn’t need the money. His dad is a really great guy, and he’s trying to be there for his son. And like with any parent, it’s so confusing to try to figure out, “What can I say? What story can I tell to try to turn my son back on the right path?”


Conroy makes sure to point out that “Elliott’s an incredibly high-achieving crab fisherman. He’s a young boat owner and captain. It’s tragic to see.” He adds, “One of the best things about Elliott is that he is such an open book, and he does say things that the rest of us would never say to another person, much less on camera. That’s what makes him such a raw and real character. That’s what I love about him, is that he is so raw. But this is a time when it works against him…”

As far as what fans can expect to see happen with Elliott and the Saga crew in tonight’s episode, Conroy says “There’s a breaking point tonight. We are at the edge of everything.”

On another positive note, in addition to successfully completing 60 days of rehab, Elliott has also found himself a love interest! “Met an amazing girl during my time off the boat,” he tweeted earlier this month, “went to Mexico had some real adventures! So to all the haters live in da now not October.”

So who is Elliott Neese’s girlfriend? Her name is Erika Fridenbergs and by conventional beauty standards she is quite the catch! (See what I did there?)

Deadliest Catch Saga captain Elliott Neese girlfriend Erika

From what I can tell online, she is a 20-year-old college student from Chicago who is currently attending Santa Monica College (right down the road from Malibu) where she is studying “Biology and Biological Sciences and Film and Video Studies.”

Here’s a photo of Elliott and Erika enjoying St. Patrick’s Day together in Chicago:

Deadliest Catch's Elliott Neese girlfriend Erika in Chicago

And here they are in Mexico:

E^2 Chillin with my girl Erika mexico was Epic can’t wait to go down there for good!! #aksels

A photo posted by Elliott Neese (@captainelliott4) on

Congratulations to Elliott for taking the steps (12 of them?) to get his life back in order. Let’s hope he’s able to keep it together and return for a successful 2016 crab fishing season!

Meanwhile, we can all take a step back in time and follow Elliot’s story (as well as the story of the other Bering Sea captains and crews) with new episodes of Deadliest Catch airing every Tuesday night at 9/8c on Discovery.

Here’s a dramatic preview for tonight’s episode featuring Elliott’s drug struggles:

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  • Elliot = Looser

    • David Merrell

      Who is who looser than? I mean that is a very vague comment. There are alot of loose people out there? Like you mean his butthole is loose? He is loose lipped? Come on, the suspense is killing me!

    • TityLiquor

      Learn to spell

    • BreBreezieBre

      Well reading your comment was awkward! Maybe he was trying to drag the word out like we did in sixth grade when we got overly excited about something he meant Elliot=Looooooser

    • Travis Shipley

      Your a punk

      • elphieAnn


      • elphieAnn


  • Joe Schmoe

    He will screw up . It’s in his nature, I’d like to see him recover but he I know he won’t. Too bad, he had the world by the balls

    • Laureen Acton

      It seems like he still has the stinkin’ thinkin’ !!

    • Boono

      Aand who are you,mystic meg?

      • Joe Schmoe

        Who are you? Captain Punctual? This article was a month ago sport…

      • Joe Schmoe

        And if you watch the show at all, which i do every week since season 1, then you know its in his nature, id be more than happy to put money on it.

      • Joe Schmoe

        lol says captain punctual… This article was a month ago, way to be on top of it LOL. And i actually watch the show every week since season one, he will screw up again, in fact Jake Anderson is now the captain of the Saga…

  • TityLiquor

    Passages is a bullshit rehab he did not complete 12 steps because they don’t use the steps there. I called passages and it costs $47,000 for 3 weeks. All they do there is help you blame others for your addiction. Elliot will never give up partying. It would be fine if he didn’t have other people’s lives on the line. If was a guy making money playing poker no one would say shit. But the truth is he is gonna be responsible for someones death.

    • Monica

      No advice from someone calling themselves TityLiquor will ever be taken seriously! If you don’t like the guy….don’t follow his story..Simple!!!

      • Vicky King

        Monica, you sound like an enabler. Its okay to go to bars during recovery, if you dont like the guy, dont follow his story. Would be happy not to see his story but i happen to like deadliest catch. All the kids on his facebook page worship him you sound just like them. So sad.

      • Captain Sarcasm

        I beg to differ, ma’am. Some of us take our tity liquor very seriously!

    • elphieAnn

      Passages has worked for people. 12 Steps isn’t the only way.

  • Travis Shipley

    Hang in there Elliott, I’m on your side, I’ve seen addiction, and seen peeps go many times, hang in there, haters gotta hate cuz they got nothing better to do

    • Carmine Fazzari

      Yeah he’ll be fine. Nothing better for a man’s soul than recovering from addiction in a Mexican Bar.

    • bobo newsome

      You are a dweeb travis.

      • Travis Shipley

        And you’re abviously god or a drug and alcohol counselor, judging me because I was being positive? Go blow a goat bobo

    • Bridget

      Hi Elliott.

    • SassyBeach

      What’s scary to me is how long Phillip Seymour Hoffman was clean—I think it was over TWENTY years. He fell off the wagon & of course as we know it killed him.
      I would feel so helpless with stats like that.
      Did Elliot’s addictions start with pain pills? I’m pretty ignorant to understanding why anyone would put that first needle in their arm (not sure if that’s his issue) but I’ve learned that most addicts have Rx for pain pills and because of the high costs, turn to heroin & crack because of the low cost. Sad.

  • Vicky King

    As an ex addict, i spotted his drug use right away. You cant snow the snow man elliott. Sadly a lot of young people think hes cool. He is still blaming everyone else and has not accepted his addiction as a problem and therefore will never recover.

    • lincolnlounger

      No offense, but there’s no such thing as an “ex addict.”

      • Mandy Bilger

        The guy who started, and apparently owns, the rehab that Elliott went to refers to himself as an ex-addict. That alone made me not trust the place to really be the help that they claim they are. As you said, there is no such thing as a ex-addict.

        • Mark L Hachey

          Sorry but the best concelers are recoverd addicts .

        • Skye Hawk

          I agree with you. That commercial gives me the willies and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I would not trust that guy as far as I could throw one of the boats on the Catch.

        • Sharon Mullins

          So agree, as a nurse, when that guy said he was an ex addict, had my doubts. He is running a spa for rich so they can avoid felony convictions.

      • Vicky King

        I know, its called recovering addict. I have been clean and sober for 37 years so i like to say ex addict. I do understand i could relapse but after all i ha death of parents and grandchild, complete laryngectomy due to cancer, loss of home and dog to a fire, all within two years and am still clean and sober, i like to believe i am ex addict.

        • Skye Hawk

          I have seen patients who have been clean for 3/4 decades after the diagnosis of cancer gets in the later stages or they bury a child and depression takes over begin to self medicate with alcohol. I am afraid one just can never say ex-addict 100% until they are deceased and truly never went back. We are all vulnerable as long as we are human.

        • Adnerb

          Yes you are an ex addict it always amazes me the distinction toon is always made by recovering addicts symantics

        • Rubytoshoe

          Wow great country and western song there!!

      • john dillngerr

        that is just self pitying bullshit

      • Kenny

        Well if that’s the case then you’re an addict but my not know it yet.

        • Boono

          I think its potential addict.

      • Tim Doherty

        Bullshit. AA/NA dogma is not scientific fact. They are a dangerous quasi-religiious cult.

    • john dillngerr

      you didnt know that discovery is providing some of the drugs used by crew members on this show?

      • Vicky King

        That sir is a extremely libelous statement on a public forum and regardless, even if true does not give elliott the right to endanger others.

        • john dillngerr

          one of the discovery camera crew got busted selling cocaine in an undercover sting 5 years ago in dutch harbor-are you naive or just stupid?

          • Vicky King

            You are ignorant and rude. Probably related. If one member of an organizatipn gets busted for dealing you cannot say everyone that works for discovery channel deals drugs anymore than you can say all crab fishermen are addicts, they are not. youi can defend him all you want, it’s your right, but he is an addict and a bad influence to his crew and the people that look up to him. He is a danger to them.

          • Chip Gayman

            One 22 year old was charged. He worked for the show. End of DC involvement, stupid. Anybody, and I mean anybody can hire an ass hole.

    • Alan1976

      His problem apparently became his girlfriends problem, and Erica wound up dead from an overdose. Shame on this bastard. He is not cool at all. He’s an ass.

  • 7RS

    Post rehab photos from inside a bar are all you need to know.

    • Monica

      You can go into a bar and not drink!!….I’ve done it. Gotta face your demons!!

      • Laureen Acton

        Not a good idea when you have such little time under your belt !!

    • john dillngerr

      did you know that discovery production staff were selling cocaine in dutch harbor?

      • 7RS

        Not surprised. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if most of the crabbers were meth heads. How else do you work 72 hour shifts?

        • themanwiththeplan

          Because they are hard working men supporting their families. And they get paid really well for busting their ass.

          • 7RS

            It was a joke.
            It’s obvious that those guys get their fix from caffeine and nicotine.

          • thebagman45

            Unfortunately, the reality of working that hard is that it becomes a lot easier, in the moment, when you self-medicate. There’s a lot of drug addiction among fisherman, and not just caffeine and nicotine.

            • zackery bluball

              absolutely 100% right , ( speaking from experience )…. i never did drugs until i started fishing…..

        • Alan1976

          Lots of coffee, perhaps?

    • Herman Allmaras

      Pretty much. Spend enough time in a barber shop and sooner or later you’re gonna get a haircut.

  • Smacciemac

    Sooo.. just out of rehab doing fine.. yet just out of rehab and partying in Mexico and in a bar on St. Patricks Day.. yeah that won’t take long..

    • itstherecit

      testing the waters of temptation…a really bad decision

  • The

    No chance he ‘gets clean’ for any length of time. He’s instantly recognizable as a perma-partier (the sort of loser who spends their life wandering from one high to the next, one bar to the next) but with the very freak life circumstance of having a lucrative business/profession where he earns a high income. As he enters his 40’s, he’ll be a reliable overdose dead pool candidate.

    The only slim ray of hope he has is some sort of catastrophic event (losing his boat, killing a crew member) that traumatizes him into reorienting his values. Until then, it’s (x) time clean, (y) time off the wagon, rinse and repeat forever until he’s dead.

    • Scott Suchodolski

      Your judgemental comments are so over the top. I agree he needs to open his eyes and see what he’s doing, but to wish death and harm to someone dealing with his issue is something you should personally pay for. Can u imagine if he read this post? I wouldn’t be surprised if your words have caused a couple people to commit suicide in your life. You seem like an educated person yet your ignorance and desensitization is uncalled for beyond imagination. If your married I pray for your wife to leave you. If you have children I pray they don’t marry men like you. Look in the mirror and judge yourself. Most of all, I pray that God judges you to the max and makes you pay for all the harsh words you’ve dished out to the people in your life. God bless your evil soul!

      • The

        I don’t wish death on him. I just recognize a trainwreck when I see one and trainwrecks usually turn out the same. Now imagine a trainwreck CAPTAINING A SHIP IN THE BEARING SEA. This does not turn out well.

      • Renato

        You act the same as “The” does.

  • James K. Howard

    I am very discussed ready most of these negative comments you people are being very judgmental. Elliot does have a very serious problem there is know doubt about that and will be a addict his entire life but because he does not fit your mold you do not give him any hope at all. There are things that you are not considering first and foremost you must remember we don’t really have a clue about his real situation because of editing for TV and ratings. The things I look at are is accomplishments in his life and at his age they are unheard of so in my opinion he is obviously are very intelligent man with unlimited self motivation and drive and if he gets that focused there is nothing he can’t do including being able to be drug free but still able to party with legal substance (alcohol) I would not under estimate Elliot. To you Elliot I say good luck and I hope you find your direction and get back on track remember most the lives you hold in your hands and how you effect them and most of all your kids and how every decision you make effects them.

    • Paige Lovelace

      I wouldn’t have such a problem with Elliot if he didn’t have people’s lives in his hands! He is going to seriously hurt some one or someone is going to get killed on his boat! He is not taking his recovery seriously if he is at passages because he isn’t serious about his recovery at all! To be in a bar tempting fate when he has so little sobriety under his belt that is scary!

  • lincolnlounger

    Well, he certainly looks much more healthy in these pics. The fact that they are in a bar is disturbing, however. I hope he gets clean, but I cannot imagine who would invest in a boat with him as captain. I, for one, believe the “Elliott is an addict” storyline has been beaten like a dead horse by the Discovery Channel. Aren’t there other storylines?

  • Reddkl

    He is an addict and will always be an addict. I don’t hate Elliott. I hate his addiction and what it is doing to his crew, ship, and father.

    He’s still blaming everybody else and that means he has not recovered. Until he takes full responsibility, he has not recovered. He’s still partying after leaving rehab and he has not recovered.

  • Cyn Mackley

    That dude is so not in any real recovery. He may have detoxed for now, but a huge part of recovery is to take responsibility for your actions and to apologize to those you affected. He’s still deflecting blame everywhere and minimizing his problem. And he still thinks like an addict. He thinks you can’t look at him and tell that he’s jacked up by his behavior and appearance.

    • Laureen Acton

      Stinkin’ thinkin’ !!!

      • Tim Doherty

        Cult mantra !!!

  • steve

    I love watching him go down. The old sayn goes ” better him then me”. Nothing better than watchn an addict lose everything. I helps me stay sober. Thanks Elliot. Better u than me. Good luck loosing everything u worked hard to get. Big joke .com.

  • Mandy Bilger

    The really sad truth is that it is going to take something major, like him getting one of his crew either seriously hurt or killed, to make him realize just how screwed up he is, and make him stop blaming everyone else and take responsibility for his actions.

    • john dillngerr

      hell his crew is just as high as he is lol

  • ForConsideration

    Wishing him the best. Fight the good fight. Never give up.

  • Em

    Elliott has to get rid of his overblown and oversized ego before he can get rid of his addiction.

    • themanwiththeplan

      He definetly has an attitude problem.

  • tex2024

    This guy is a waste of oxygen. He’s had plenty of
    opportunities to clean up his act(Rehab, etc.). He’s left his crew
    hangin’ while he went drinkin’ an’ druggin’. Not considerate of anyone
    but himself. A real PUNK !!

  • Glad to hear that Elliott got some help, hopefully this time he’ll stick with it. And I’m guessing he’s over Val (for now) with this new girl in his life.. 🙂

  • itstherecit

    …as the Passages ad on tv says “we are not a 12 step program”…Elliot has a ways to go in the growing up process and an extremely difficult task ahead in remaining clean….i really hope he can do it and live to appreciate the life and opportunities he has in front of him

  • john dillngerr

    i have tried to explain to the elliott haters that discovery edits and can manipulate the show to make a person look totally different–elliott doesnt need discovery’s money

    • SassyBeach

      Since you mention editing haha:

      I don’t think he’ll have to worry about ANY woman after they filmed him scratchin’ the beejeesus out of his crotch, INSIDE his pants. (This was while he was in the wheelhouse which the relief capt was driving)

      I cracked up that they didn’t edit that out; seems the crew of the show doesn’t like him much either! LMAO!

      • MIKLO

        At one time I kinda felt sorry for E but when a guy blames everyone else for HIS problems he has no perspective at all. Like when he got busted on mic in room on boat and tried to get them to not air it, come on dude you say the show aint real maybe you should get real! I wish him luck but from things I’ve seen he will need it, I’ve been sober since March 1986 and if you don’t change who you are you wont change, its just that simple. News flash 60 days sober people are still in a fog and need other sober people to give them sum direction…. only if ya wanna stay sober that is.I haven’t inhaled, injected, or ingested anything to get me high in a very long time. wish I could take credit for that but I cant, fact is my best thinking got me nowhere. It is possible to get sober and have a good life if you get help and BTW the best help is FREE just ask for it.

  • weirswalker

    So he met a chick in rehab…he’s still an a**hole for putting lives at risk..

  • JustMe

    I have never liked Elliot. I think he has a huge ego with nothing to back it up. He wants to get back with Val, he doesn’t want to get back with Val, he loves her, he has a new girlfriend (even brought her on the boat!!!), then he loves Val again, now he has a new g/f (way too pretty for him), but how long will this one last? He seems like the type of person that HAS to have a g/f and when he doesn’t, the drugs take her place. I pray that if he has visitation with his kids, they are supervised so he is never around them high.

    • SassyBeach

      I don’t think he’ll have to worry about ANY woman after they filmed him scratchin’ the beejeesus out of his crotch, INSIDE his pants. (This was while he was in the wheelhouse which the relief capt was driving)

      I cracked up that they didn’t edit that out; seems the crew of the show doesn’t like him much either! LMAO!

  • Kristin Abbott

    Once a junky always a junky

  • Chip Gayman

    Look at that filthy bimbo he’s banging. They’re both attention whores. I wonder who will kick whose ass first.

  • themanwiththeplan

    I hope Elliot beats his addiction. But I have serious doubts he will. His attitude is the main reason. He has everything going for him, but will blow it all. He has a really bad attitude, he is recovering but sends in pics in a bar? He is constantly in on line arguments with people he don’t even know. He blames Discovery but continues to do the show. He said DC lied about him being behind in child support. One show he is crying over Val, the next he has a new gf, like the a soap opera, The days of our lifes. Get your head screwed on right Elliot, your drug addiction is only part of your problems. Good luck man.

  • themanwiththeplan

    Admit you have a serious problem, apologize to the people close to you, adjust that attitude man.stay out of bars, amd turn that goofy hat around. Stop getting in arguments with people you don’t even know on line. Good luck man.

  • Ho LeeKow

    Funny watched him say he is no ones bitch um wake up Elliott you’re a junkie so for the rest of your life you are dopes bitch

  • TBD

    It’s okay to hate us Elliott, we all hate you too. You’re a waste of human breath. Small kids dying of cancer, soldiers coming back with their lives in shambles missing arms and legs. Loved ones struggling to fight cancer, then there’s you.

  • tom hoyt

    What about Jake Anderson taking over the Saga?

  • John Renzo

    Look the main thing is that he is trying and needs support. Hopefully he gets it together. In my opinion the one thing that would really help Elliott would be to stay far away from Deadliest Catch. These “Reality” shows sometimes do more harm than good just for the ratings. Think they really “care” about Elliott? Only for ratings but if he does pass on returning, they’ll serve Jake up as the next sacrificial lamb. That’s show biz baby, good or bad.

  • Capt. Scott

    I am a professional boat captain, and I, as with all other professional
    boat captains, am subject to random drug testing with a zero tolerance
    policy by the USCG, and rightly so. Why is it that this spoiled dope
    head apparently has a get-out-of-Jail free card by the Coast Guard.
    People’s live’s are in his hands and he should have been stripped of his
    captain’s license years ago. Why do the rules not apply to him????

  • Roy G. Biv

    I saw Elliott in Pavalions market in Marina Del Rey, Ca buying a case of beer a few days ago. He looked in bad shape. Rehab is not working out. 07/09/2015

  • Skye Hawk

    Elliott hasn’t changed if you look him dead in the eye. All the demons and rage are still there. And the new gold-digger is most assuredly using him. Her focus is looking good for the camera. Elliotts been hurt enough and doesn’t need another user in his life but trusting enough to be vulnerable. Discovery really needs to let this young man go, let him get a handle on his life. I fear he will end up in an obituary one day trying so hard to be what he thinks he needs to be.

  • Sharon Mullins

    Elliot is an ignorant arrogant ass. How did he ever get a position as a captain? I would never work on any boat he captained, he is a menace.

  • jensensah

    Until he give up his self serving ways, he needs to stay as far away from a fishing boat as possible. If he thinks for one minute, he is ready to be captain of a boat, he is sadly mistaken. He could of killed all those young men, and himself, because he was too selfish to admit he had a problem. I wish him no wrong, but I have lost all respect for him.

  • Eric Meltzer

    They should update the definition of douchebag in the dictionary and just use any picture of Elliott. Whiskey Tango Wigger

  • localvocal

    I wouldn’t go bass fishing in a row boat with this scumbag.

  • Hulkamaniac4Life

    I’m going to assume that he will not be back for the new season of DC starting in March 2016??

  • northsideultras

    Josh Harris he work very hard to be a good Captain, but he has bad luck! Elliott has to much luck but he is as a Person big asshole!He always say “I’m a captain””I’m a captain””I’m a captain””I’m a captain” He is Captain of that Ship,but Captain of his life are the drugs! He will sink like Titanic!

  • Pete

    I like Elliot hate the way discovery would destroy someone’s life just for their tv show you go around any industry drug use is rampid we are in the USA drugs are at epidemic proportions in America deal with it idiots

  • Alan1976

    I would be willing to bet that he introduced his girlfriend, Erika, to hard drugs, got her hooked, and that wound up with her overdosing and dying in 2016. I would like Deadliest Catch management to confirm that, and if true, make sure Elliot Neese never is on the show again! If he is on the show in the future, I will likely stop watching it for this reason alone.