Patrick Dempsey flashes that McDreamy grin of his (Vivian Zink/ABC)Patrick Dempsey, better known to millions of "Grey's Anatomy" fans as Dr. Derek Shepherd, or "McDreamy," is celebrating his 46th birthday on January 13. To celebrate, we're taking a walk down memory lane with the sexy doc's 10 best "Grey's Anatomy" moments. From swoon-worthy romantic gestures to devastating depictions of anger, these are the scenes that make Derek a character for the TV history books.
Dr. Derek Shepherd, Meet Intern Meredith Grey (Season 1)
In his first scene with "Grey's Anatomy's" protagonist Meredith Grey, Patrick Dempsey plays the charming Dr. Derek Shepherd so effortlessly that it is pretty much impossible not to fall for him right along with her. In fact, he's so charismatic that it's difficult to criticize him when he lies about being new in town just to up his chances of winning over Meredith.
Derek and Meredith Steam Up the 'Prom' (Season 2)
This is the episode in which Dempsey earns the title "leading man." Although it's Derek's best friend, Dr. Mark Sloan, who earns the nickname "McSteamy," Derek and Meredith's sexy sojourn in an exam room during the hospital's "prom" is plenty steamy. From Derek's first smoldering look to his desperate kisses, everything about this scene screams "Derek loves Meredith." Too bad he's married to someone else when it happens.
Derek's Big Breakdown (Season 3)
When Meredith has a brush with death after a ferry accident, everything about Derek's reaction is noteworthy. However, it's his near breakdown after yelling at Meredith's distant mother, Ellis, that still stands out in our minds years later. Dempsey perfectly captures Derek's anger at Ellis, and the misery he feels after pondering the possibility that Meredith intentionally threw herself into the water.
McDreamy vs. McSteamy (Season 5)
This unforgettable showdown ostensibly occurs because Mark admits to sleeping with Meredith's sister. It's more accurately viewed as the result of Derek's anger and regret over failing to save a patient -- not to mention years of built-up tension between these best buds, who have shared a love interest on more than one occasion.
Derek Pops the Question (Season 5)
Derek definitely knows how to romance a girl -- at least when the girl in question is a burgeoning neurosurgeon. In one of the show's most memorable scenes, Derek proposes to Meredith in an elevator covered in CT scans from their most meaningful, challenging, and successful surgeries together. How could she say no?
Let's Have a Post-It Wedding (Season 5)
With friends dying around them, Meredith and Derek literally can't find time to get married in the Season 5 finale -- until Derek realizes that a legal wedding isn't the point; it's all about the vows. Thus, in what is possibly "Grey's Anatomy's" most romantic moment ever, the golden couple get married by making promises on Post-it notes.
Derek Tempts the Chief With Alcohol (Season 6)
Sometimes, Derek does not-so-nice things -- like tempting an alcoholic with a drink -- but he does them with the best of intentions. In this case, he's trying to prove the hospital's chief of surgery is off the wagon and no longer fit to work. Whether or not you approve of Derek's methods, this scene definitely makes for riveting television.
Derek Takes a Bullet (Season 6)
The "Grey's Anatomy" world is rocked when a gunman, unhinged by grief over his wife's recent death at the hospital, storms into Seattle Grace-Mercy West and guns down doctor after doctor, including Derek. What makes this moment a standout for Dempsey is the speech Derek gives right before he's shot, imploring the anguished gunman to forgive him. "I'm a human being. I make mistakes. I'm flawed. We all are." Derek's quiet dignity in the face of fear makes the shock of the shooting all the more devastating.
Let's Adopt This Baby (Season 7)
After a season focused on Meredith's struggle to conceive, Derek falls in love with Zola, a baby girl from Africa who was brought to Seattle Grace-Mercy West for a lifesaving surgery. His sheer fatherly delight in interacting with Zola -- not to mention his adorable baby talk -- is enough to melt anyone's heart. As soon as we glimpsed his Zola-inspired smile, we knew Meredith and Derek were destined to adopt this gorgeous baby.
Derek Calls Meredith an Unfit Mother (Season 7)
"I don't know how to raise a child with someone who doesn't understand that there's a right and wrong in the world." With these words -- thrown in Meredith's face after she tampered with Derek's Alzheimer's trial, invalidating the results -- Derek shatters our hearts into a million little pieces. This scene is one of Dempsey's shining moments: He knocks Derek's righteous indignation out of the park.
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