Found! Deadliest Catch fans wondered whether Elliott Neese had thrown in the towel for good earlier this week, after the Ramblin' Rose captain was conspicuously absent in a season 9 promo for the Discovery Channel series. But the polarizing figure is indeed ready for a comeback, the show's executive producer David Pritikin assured Us Weekly on Friday, April 12. "Elliott Neese does return this season," Pritikin confirmed.

"This is redemption time, really. People either love him or love to hate him. He comes back as the youngest boat owner or captain in the fleet," the producer continued.

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As loyal watchers of the smash docudrama about the grueling struggles of crab fishermen on the Bering Sea already know, Neese "had a really rough time last season," Pritikin points out. "He got fired off his boat, his kids' mother [Valerie Gunderson] put a restraining order on him, he couldn't see his kids. His crew quit. He had a rough go and now he's learned a lot."

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As he fights back, Neese "will surprise some people this season," Pritikin teased -- but still, "The water is never smooth for this guy." This time around, Neese owns his own boat, leading to new responsibilities and financial challenges. "He starts the season with 10 dollars in his bank account."

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Neese's own ascent fits in with an overall theme as the ninth season gets underway, Pritikin added. "The younger generation is stepping up. A lot of these guys have been deck hands for nine years!"

Tell Us: Can Neese redeem himself?

This article originally appeared on Elliott Neese Will Return to Deadliest Catch for "Redemption"