The crew of the vessels featured on Deadliest Catch have obviously gotten the most attention, but the behind-the-scenes staff on the show have likewise garnered a few headlines.
In September 2016, a 22-year-old production manager, Matthew J. Schneider, was charged with using and selling cocaine. He was caught in a large undercover sting launched by Unalaska police. Schneider, who, following the charge, fled to California, can be heard on police recordings saying that his supervisor sometimes purchased large amounts of cocaine from the Golden State to distribute at Deadliest Catch soirees, many of which took place in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The investigation has not, to date, roped in any other members of the show’s staff.
By far the sadder case is the story of Joe McMahon, a 25-year-old producer who was shot and killed in front of his parents’ house in Pasadena, California, in the early hours of July 24, 2015. Neighbors reported hearing shots being fired and a car speeding away. McMahon’s body was found one driveway away from where he lived, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
And then, in a twist worthy of Murder, She Wrote, police found Brandon Rafiepour, 24, in a car not far from McMahon’s home, dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police believe Rafiepour, who knew McMahon, was the killer, but a motive in the shooting is yet to be disclosed.