- “Denise, you're scary! Sure you seem cute at first but then you eat after midnight or get some water on you and then boom! You turn into this monster and I gotta throw you into the microwave and explode you!”— Turk ("Our Drunk Friend")
Dr. Denise Mahoney is a resident physician at New Sacred Heart Hospital, and also student advisor and teaching assistant at Winston University. She started as an intern at Sacred Heart Hospital during J.D.'s eighth year and bothered him with her insensitive and callous personality.
Denise is portrayed by Eliza Coupe who appears in ten episodes of Season Eight and all thirteen Season Nine episodes. She is first seen in the webisode "Our Intern Class" and was last seen in "Our Thanks". It is assumed she is still at New Sacred Heart and Winston U..
Denise is extremely blunt and opinionated. She does not hesitate to tell people exactly what she thinks, and it is often not very nice. She has never been able to connect strongly to her emotions, even when she is with her family. She finds the scientific logistics of medicine extremely interesting, but does not like the human interaction. ("My ABC's") When she is chosen by J.D. to be his pet intern, Denise does begin to make some small steps toward being a better people person, and is very angry when J.D. stops lecturing her on compassion as she doesn't want him to give up on her. ("My ABC's") ("My Cookie Pants") Denise has improved her bedside manner, but still finds it difficult to be emotionally close to a patient. Whenever she feels threatened, she reminds herself that the patient is going to leave or die soon, or she has someone else connect emotionally for her.
Although Denise gives off a very secure and stoic impression, she is extremely self critical and her self esteem is lowered when she messes up on procedures and diagnoses. Sometimes she sleeps with men to combat this low self esteem. ("My Chief Concern") Denise has slept with Derek. She helped Janitor convince J.D. that he should admit that he jammed a door on his first day with a penny, but broke character halfway through and revealed that she was blackmailed into doing it. ("My Finale")
There are many attempts to get Denise to be kinder and more sensitive to the patients.
At Winston U, Denise is getting free room and board by being the student advisor. She doesn't care about the job and often says sarcastic things rather than inspiring the young minds. She also sits in on some classes as the T.A..
Denise and Drew Suffin are both extremely independent, which might explain their attraction. At first they only used each other for sex, but after J.D. and Turk convinced her, Denise reached out to try to connect to Drew as a person. He took some nudging by Dr. Kelso himself, but eventually they went out to a bar together to talk. ("Our Drunk Friend") The two are now officially in a relationship because Denise realized she had feelings for him when she was going to rob him. ("Our Mysteries") This doesn't mean that she doesn't like to mess with Drew's head, as she pranks that he has gotten her pregnant. ("Our New Girl-Bro") She also tends to insult Drew and call him a girl whenever he expresses his feelings or concern for her.
J.D. was Denise's boss and acted as her mentor during her intern year.
After J.D. leaves Sacred Heart/Winston University, Turk decides to find a new best friend that he can work with. After doing many interviews, Denise becomes Turk's best friend after they discover they have similar likes and dislikes. ("Our New Girl-Bro")
As interns, Sunny hoped to be Denise's new best friend, Denise threatens to fight her and insults her in Sunny's video diary (Our Intern Class). Denise now considers Sunny her closest female friend, but she still dodges her phone calls and sneaks out on double dates. ("Our Mysteries")
Other hospital staff
She doesn't seem to care if any other interns, doctors, or patients like her, so she is abrasive and sharp with them as well. J.D. doesn't like her for this. ("My Jerks") When it comes to sexual partners, Denise went through a "fatty phase" because they "work harder," ("My Last Words") and guys with low self esteem. She slept with Derek Hill when his self esteem was crushed when he messed up during a routine procedure. ("My Full Moon")
- Guys with low self esteem ("My Full Moon")
- Chubby guys ("My Last Words") (Our Meeting with J.D.)
- Starting sentences with "Seriously"
- Massages from Jimmy the Overly-Touchy Orderly
- "Bangin' dudes" ("My ABC's")
- When children fall down ("Our Dear Leaders")
- Scabs and other gory medical details
- Dressing up all lady-like
- Sunshine (J.D.) ("My Jerks")
- Jo (J.D.) ("My Jerks")
- Chuckles (J.D.) ("My Last Words")
- The Devil (George Valentine) ("My Last Words")
- Field Hockey (Dr. Cox) ("Our Histories")
- Mayor of Crazy Town (J.D.) ("My Cookie Pants")
- Emperor of Crazy Town
- Dude-Chick (Howie) ("My Comedy Show")
- Some girl who digs fat guys (Ted) ("My Absence")
- Stick (Drew) ("Our Drunk Friend")
- Denise has never met her mother. ("My Comedy Show")
- Her mother is dead. ("Our Histories")
- Eliza Coupe has a tattoo on her right elbow, which is why Denise always wears a long-sleeved undershirt.
- Denise watches The Bachelor and cries. ("Our Dear Leaders")
- Denise wants to die by getting shot in the head with a nail gun. ("Our Driving Issues")