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Derek Christopher Shepherd, more commonly known as Derek Shepherd, is a fictional surgeon on the ABC television series Grey's Anatomy. The character is portrayed by actor Patrick Dempsey, who was nominated in 2006 and 2007 Golden Globe for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama for the role and the 2006 SAG Award for he Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series award. He is happily married to longtime girlfriend Meredith Grey.

Creation

Before getting the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd, Dempsey auditioned for the part of Dr. Gregory House on the hit Fox show, House. While according to People magazine he actually auditioned for the role of Dr. Robert Chase, most of the sources confirm that he auditioned for Gregory House. The actor was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 12, which was believed to be the reason not to get some roles. He stated: "When 'Grey's Anatomy' came up, I was really at the breaking point. I was like, 'I can't do this anymore. I can't keep auditioning.'". When he auditioned for the role of Derek, he was afraid that he was not going to get the part. Show creator Shonda Rhimes' first reaction was: "The very first time I met him, I was absolutely sure that he was my guy. Reading the lines of Derek Shepherd, Patrick had a vulnerable charm that I just fell for. And he had amazing chemistry with Ellen Pompeo." Rhimes admitted that Dempsey's dyslexia threw her at first, particularly at the first few "table readings" (meetings when the cast gathers to read fresh scripts aloud): "I did not know about Patrick's dyslexia in the beginning. I actually thought that he didn't like the scripts from the way he approached the readings. When I found out, I completely understood his hesitation. Now that we all know, if he is struggling with a word, the other actors are quick to step up and help him out. Everyone is very respectful."

Rhimes describes Derek as typical "Prince Charming". He was planned to be a doctor who doesn't really care about anything, who lives in his "own" universe and has a big sex appeal. A man who is charming, devilishly handsome and basically the kinda guy every girl goes to sleep dreaming about. A man that often makes the wrong decisions, and is often known as a jerk, or the ultimate heartbreaker. Rhimes planned to have this kind of character from the beginning, because he was the typical kind of guy that girls fall in love with and a character whose storylines could easily be changed.

Season One

Derek arrives at Seattle Grace hospital as the new head of neurosurgery, earning a salary of $2 million a year. He is a Bowdoin Collegemarker graduate and went to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons for Medical School. Shortly after arriving, he meets Meredith Grey and has a drunken one-night stand with her, only to discover that she is a new surgical intern at the hospital where he has recently begun working. Although she initially rejects his advances, Meredith eventually agrees to date Derek. His personality and good looks earn him the nickname “McDreamy” among Meredith and her friends. Their relationship comes to a sudden halt, however, when Derek’s estranged wife Addison Montgomery arrives in Seattle unannounced, making it clear that she wants to give their marriage another try.

Season Two

Although Derek struggles over the decision, he breaks up with Meredith and returns to Addison. Their attempts to repair their marriage are strained when Derek confesses he had fallen in love with Meredith, and he becomes jealous when she begins to date again. They sleep together at a hospital prom, with Derek confessing his love to Meredith the next day. Derek initially feels guilty for hurting Addison, but is angry when she seeks solace with his former best friend Mark Sloan, with whom she had previously had an affair. Addison ultimately leaves Seattle to work in a private hospital in Los Angeles. Derek's relationship with Mark remains tense for some months after Mark transfers to work at Seattle Grace, but the two eventually repair their friendship.

Season Three

Meredith dates both Derek and her new beau Finn Dandridge for a brief period, ultimately choosing to be with Derek. After a ferry boat accident, Derek saves Meredith from drowning. Meredith becomes increasingly depressed after the event, causing a growing disconnection between them. It becomes obvious they may not make it and that he wants it more than she does. When the season ends the verdict of their relationship is left hanging.

Season Four

Derek begins to push Meredith to make a greater commitment to their relationship than she feels able to, and the pair break up. However, they have sex in an on-call room in the hospital, and they continue to have 'break-up sex' for several weeks, without actually committing to being in a relationship. Meredith decides that she wants to commit to Derek, but finds out that Derek kissed his scrub nurse, Rose and so they break up again. Derek begins dating Rose and Meredith initiates a neurosurgical clinical trial on patients with malignant gliomas, enlisting Derek as a consulting neurosurgeon. Meredith and Derek grow discouraged as their clinical trial fails again and again. Meredith learns that unless they save a patient by the end of the day, the Medical Board will shut down their trial. However, the final clinical trial patient survives and Meredith goes to Derek's land and outlines their would-be house in candles, mentioning their future children. Derek finds her there and kisses her passionately, but leaves in order to end his relationship with Rose, telling Meredith to wait for him there.

Season Five

After Derek breaks up with Rose, Meredith and Derek begin discussing moving together. Meredith agrees, but becomes angry when he wants her to move her roommates out. Eventually, Derek agrees to move in along with her friends. Derek's Mother, Carolyn meets Meredith for the first time. She approves and tells Derek that he only sees things in black and white, and Meredith does not and that he needs that in his life. Before she leaves, she gives Derek her wedding ring to give to Meredith. Derek is shocked because he then realizes that his mother never thought Addison was "the one" for him. Now that Derek has the ring, he just needs to find the right way to propose to Meredith, but is worried that she is not ready for marriage, he soon realizes she is when she makes a comment about having his babies.

Derek is in a serious depression and refuses to go to work after losing a pregnant patient and being hit by a malpractice lawsuit. His depression deepens after he meets with his lawyers and they tell him he's lost more patients than he's saved. He returns to the hospital, but only to tell Richard that he's not operating. When Meredith meets Derek later on, she reveals she knows about the ring and he bats it into the distance and yells at her, 'Go home.' Derek tells Meredith that he loves her and asks her if she would still love him if he wasn't a surgeon. She then tells him of Izzie's skin cancer which has spread to her brain. Derek is 'one of about 20 people in the world who can save her. And I don't know if I could respect somebody who could walk away from a gift like that. So please don't.' She shows him Izzie's scans. 'It's pretty bad,' she says, and drives away, while he inspects them.

Derek preps for Izzie's surgery, but he tells Meredith that he isn't ready. He tells her he needs her to say yes, but she says she's not going anywhere and that she believes in him. When Richard wants to know why Derek and Meredith aren't out celebrating the success of the surgery, Derek tells Richard that she has turned him down twice. Richard makes Meredith wait for the elevator and when the doors open, she sees why: Derek is inside and the elevator is decorated with scans of all the surgeries they did together. He recounts the stages of their relationships as they played out during each case. Lastly, he shows her the post-op scans of the different lives they have saved over the years and Izzie's brain. 'You got me into the OR,' he tells her 'If there is a crisis, you don't freeze, you move forward. You put the rest of us to move forward because you've seen worse, you've survived worse, and you know we'll survive too. You say you're all dark and twisty. It's not a flaw, it's a strength. It makes you who you are. I'm not gonna get down one knee, I'm not gonna ask a question. I love you, Meredith Grey, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.' 'And I want to spend the rest of my life with you,' she responds, and they kiss. Later, the two brainstorm about their vows, because they realised that they didn't have to time to marry at City Hall, they came up with the following for their vows: 1.To love each other even when we hate each other, 2.To never walk away, 3.To take care of the other when they are old, senile, and smelly - 'this is forever.' The two sign the post-it, and Meredith declares this is the wedding and Derek kisses his bride. Later, the two of them go to check up on John Doe, who is later revealed to be George. They rush him to surgery but he begins to flatline, leaving his fate unknown.

Season Six

The season picks up where the previous one left off, with George ultimately succumbing to his injuries, and Derek declares him braindead. Later after Izzie is revived after coding, she has to decide whether or not George is a donor, since his wallet was lost in his accident. Derek is then offered the job of Chief of Surgery after the board wants to oust Dr. Webber. Derek, being faithful as a friend to Richard, wants them to consider keeping him somehow, but the Chief isn't doing too well of convincing the board that he's still worthy of being Chief. During the rest of the premiere, Meredith and Derek literally consummate their marriage all over the house, which is Meredith's way of coping with George's death. Later, after a month, Meredith finally breaks down crying, and Derek comforts her. Also, it is revealed that Seattle Grace and Mercy West will be merging into one hospital. During this time, Richard and Derek are not seeing eye to eye together with how the situation is being handled, and their relationship begins to sour.

Later during the season, Derek is challenged with an inoperable spinal tumor by their lab tech, Isaac. Even though the Chief forbids Derek from doing it since it's an expensive and impossible surgery, he goes along and operates anyway. After 10 hours of staring into his spine with no plan, the Chief finally catches Derek and orders him to stop. Later, Isaac asks if Derek can just simply cut his spinal chord to get rid of the tumor, that way he can at least live as a paraplegic. Derek mentions this to the Chief, and he gives Derek permission to operate, since it'll be quick and easy. However, Derek reveals to his operating team that they're actually not going to cut the chord, but go in and finish what they started. Later the Chief finds out what Derek is actually doing, but Arizona stops him from entering, and he walks away disgusted. After a 26 hour surgery, Derek succeeds in removing the whole tumor without paralyzing Isaac. Derek goes to the Chief to offer a truce, and move on from his defiance to Richard. However, he simply tells Derek that he's fired, and to leave the hospital immediately. Derek tells him the same thing Isaac told him about operating a second time: "Go home, sleep on it. We'll talk more in the morning." Eventually Derek and Richard make up and it appears that he is still working at Seattle Grace/Mercy West.

References

  1. http://www.houseisright.com/2006/05/01/house-starring-patrick-dempsey/
  2. http://www.people.com/people/patrick_dempsey
  3. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20060302/patrick-dempsey-reveals-his-dyslexia
  4. http://www.usaweekend.com/06_issues/060430/060430celebs_dempsey.html
  5. http://abc.go.com/primetime/greysanatomy/index?pn=recap#t=131878&d=182191
  6. http://abc.go.com/primetime/greysanatomy/index?pn=recap#t=131878&d=182216


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