[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Dark Season 2. Read at your own risk!]
If your brain is currently mush after trying to figure out how everyone and everything is related or connected in Netflix’s compelling sci-fi drama Dark, you’re not alone. The series, which revolves around four interconnected families in a small German town, requires the type of mental gymnastics that all the best time travel series require. But luckily for you, we’re here to help you unravel the intricate web of the Kahnwalds, Nielsens, Tiedemanns, and Dopplers.
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Louis Hofmann, Dark
Jonas Kahnwald/Adam (Louis Hofmann in 2019; Andreas Pietschmann in the future; Dietrich Hollinderbaumer as Adam)
Jonas is the son of Hannah and Michael Kahnwald, formerly known as Mikkel Nielsen, who was the younger brother of Jonas’ friends in 2019 and who traveled back in time to 1986. Jonas dated Martha Nielsen prior to Michael’s suicide in June 2019, but broke things off once he realized Martha was actually his aunt. The version of Jonas from the future attempts to destroy the wormhole. In the final moments of the Season 1 finale, 2019 Jonas travels from 1986 through a hole in time and space to 2052, the apocalyptic future. In 2053, Jonas discovers the God Particle in the power plant, temporarily stabilizes it, and travels back in time to 1921 where he learns he eventually becomes the man behind it all, Adam, who wants to destroy everything and create a new world.
Michael Kahnwald/Mikkel Nielsen (Sebastian Rudolph as Michael; Daan Lennard Liebrenz as Mikkel)
Mikkel is the youngest son of Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen. Mikkel is the younger brother of Martha and Magnus Nielsen, who take Mikkel with them on a trip to the caves with Jonas Kahnwald and Bartosz Tiedemann. That night, in November 2019, he travels through time to 1986 with the guidance of a future version of Jonas. While being treated by Ines Kahnwald (who eventually adopts and calls him Michael) at the hospital, Mikkel meets Hannah. They eventually wed and Hannah gives birth to a son, Jonas. Michael kills himself on June 21, 2019 after a future version of Jonas tells Michael that’s what is going to happen and shows him the suicide letter.
Hannah Kahnwald (Maja Schöne in 2019/2020; Ella Lee in 1986/87)
Hannah is the mother of Jonas and widow of Michael Kahnwald, formerly known as Mikkel Nielsen. She has been in love with Ulrich Nielsen since 1986. She has an affair with him in 2019, but Ulrich ends their arrangement after Mikkel’s disappearance. She is definitely not all right in the head, and after traveling back in time to 1954 to visit Ulrich, who is now locked up in a psychiatric hospital, she decides to leave him there and start a new life in the past.
Ines Kahnwald (Angela Winkler in 2019; Anne Ratte-Polle in 1986/87; Lena Urzendowsky in 1953)
Ines is the adoptive mother of Michael Kahnwald, formerly known as Mikkel Nielsen. She was a nurse at the Winden hospital in 1986 and formed a bond with the stranded-in-time Mikkel. But while she took care of Mikkel, Ines also drugged him repeatedly. A part of her always knew that Mikkel was telling the truth when he said he was from the future. A letter written before he committed suicide on June 21, 2019, confirmed it. She is also the grandmother of Jonas and mother-in-law of Hannah. Her father was Daniel, who worked in law enforcement.
Daan Lennard Liebrenz, Dark
Mikkel Nielsen/Michael Kahnwald (Daan Lennard Liebrenz as Mikkel, Sebastian Rudolph as Michael)
Mikkel is the youngest son of Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen. Mikkel is the younger brother of Martha and Magnus Nielsen, who take Mikkel with them on a trip to the Winden caves in 2019, where he is travels through time to 1986 with the help of a future version of Jonas. While being treated by Ines Kahnwald at the hospital, Mikkel meets 14-year-old Hannah. The two eventually wed, with Mikkel living as Michael Kahnwald, and Hannah gives birth to a son, Jonas … who was the friend of his older brother and sister in 2019.
Martha Nielsen (Lisa Vicari)
Martha is the middle child and only daughter of Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen. She is the sister of Magnus and Mikkel Nielsen. After the latter travels back in time and fathers a child (Jonas), it is revealed that Martha is Jonas’ aunt, which is awkward since she and Jonas previously dated. She discovers the truth about their relationship in Season 2, but she still loves Jonas. She dated Bartosz Tiedemann while Jonas was receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress after his father’s (Mikkel/Michael) suicide in June 2019. She is killed by Adam right before the apocalypse in 2020. It’s revealed that there is another version of Martha from an alternate universe that is still alive though.
Magnus Nielsen (Moritz Jahn in 2019/2020; Wolfram Koch in 1921)
Magnus is the eldest son of Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen. He dates Franziska Doppler, whose parents are Charlotte and Peter Doppler. He is the one who took Mikkel to the cave in 2019 and he does not handle Mikkel’s disappearance well. It appears that later in life he comes to support Adam in 1921.
Ulrich Nielsen (Oliver Masucci in 2019; Ludger Bökelmann in 1986; Winfried Glatzeder in 1987)
Ulrich is the eldest son of Jana and Tronte Nielsen. In 2019, Ulrich works in law enforcement alongside Charlotte Doppler, wife of Peter Doppler. He is engaged in an affair with Hannah Kahnwald prior to Mikkel’s disappearance. His brother Mads (Valentin Oppermann) disappeared in similar fashion in 1986, which drives him to find Mikkel at all costs. While investigating what happened to Mikkel, Ulrich realizes Mads is the boy who is found dead in the woods in 2019 because time travel is weird. Ulrich travels back in time to 1953, where he is arrested for the deaths of two other young boys. In Season 2, he is revealed to have been in a psychiatric hospital since at least 1954 and through 1987.
Katharina Nielsen (Jördis Triebel in 2019/2020; Nele Trebs in 1986/87)
Katharina is the wife of Ulrich Nielsen and the mother of Magnus, Martha, and Mikkel Nielsen. In 2019 she is the principal of the local high school. In 1986, Hannah files a false police reporting accusing Ulrich of raping Katharina in order to drive them apart. Katharina believes Regina Tiedemann reported her, causing bad blood between them that still exists in 2019. After Ulrich and Mikkel both go missing, Katharina is determined to find them and is last seen opening the passage in the Winden caves at the time of the apocalypse in 2020.
Jana Nielsen (Tatja Seibt in 2019; Anne Lebinsky in 1986; Rike Sindler in 1953)
Jana is the mother of Ulrich and Mads Nielsen. She is married to Tronte Nielsen, who had an affair with Claudia Tiedemann in 1986. After Mads’ disappearance, Jana is unable to function properly.
Tronte Nielsen (Walter Kreye in 2019; Felix Kramer in 1986; Joshio Marlon in 1953/54)
Tronte is the father of Ulrich and Mads Nielsen. He is married to Jana, but had an affair with Claudia Tiedmann, whom he lived with as a child, in 1986. He moved to Winden with his mother Agnes in 1953. His father is unknown, but it’s implied he was abusive. When Mads’ body falls through a crack in time, Peter Doppler witnesses it and calls Tronte, who relocates the body to the woods, where it is found by Ulrich and Charlotte Doppler.
Agnes Nielsen (Antje Traue in 1953/54; Helena Pieske in 1921)
Agnes is the daughter of Erna and sister of Noah. She moved to Winden in 1953 with her son, Tronte; Tronte’s father is never seen, but it’s implied he was abusive. In 1954, Agnes has an affair with Doris Tiedemann, whom she meets when she rents a room in their house. She is a friend of Claudia Tiedemann, and has infiltrated Sic Mundus as a double agent (she was previously a member but had left the organization prior to the 1950s). She later kills Noah, an act which worked to demonstrate her alleged allegiance to her great-great-grandson Adam, aka Jonas.
Deborah Kaufmann, Dark
Bartosz Tiedemann (Paul Lux)
Bartosz is the only son of Regina and Aleksander Tiedemann, who was born Boris Niewald and is the current head of nuclear power plant. He dated Martha Nielsen while Jonas Kahnwald was being treated for post-traumatic stress after his father’s suicide. He was manipulated by the mysterious man known as Noah, much like Helge Doppler once was.
Regina Tiedemann (Deborah Kaufmann in 2019/2020; Lydia Maria Makrides in 1986/87)
Regina is the mother of Bartosz Tiedemann and wife of Aleksander, who came to her defense in a 1986 fight with Katharina and now runs the nuclear power plant. Regina, who ran the only hotel in Winden prior to it being shut down, is the only daughter of Claudia Tiedemann. She has breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. She is a lifelong enemy of Katharina Nielsen.
Aleksander Tiedemann (Peter Benedict in 2019/2020; Bela Gabor Lenz in 1986/87)
Aleksander is married to Regina. He is the father of Bartosz Tiedemann. Born Boris Niewald, he arrived in Winden in 1986 and stole the identity of Aleksander Kohler after being involved in a still-unsolved double murder in Marburg. Aleksander gets a job at the nuclear power plant, which is run by Regina’s mother Claudia at the time. In 2019 he is in charge of the plant. In 2020, the brother of the real Aleksander, Investigator Clausen, has Aleksander arrested from identity theft.
Claudia Tiedemann (Lisa Kreuzer in 2019/2020; Julika Jenkins in 1986/87; Gwendolyn Gobel in 1953/54)
Claudia is the daughter of Doris and Egon Tiedmann, who is a police officer in 1953 and just a few months shy of retirement when Mads Nielsen goes missing in 1986. Claudia becomes the first woman to run the nuclear power plant in Winden and also has an affair with Tronte Nielsen, who lived with her as a child. Her dog disappears in 1953 and reappears in the caves in 1986, while Claudia is inspecting a stash of radioactive material from the nuclear power plant. She accidentally causes injury to her father in 1987 but rather than help him she decides to let him die to protect the God Particle from being discovered. She grows into Adam’s main antagonist and eventually becomes a mentor to the young version of Jonas, whom she hopes will wage war on himself and stop Adam from destroying the world. She is killed by Noah in 1954.
Egon Tiedemann (Christian Patzold in 1986/87; Sebastian Hulk in 1953/54)
Egon is the father of Claudia Tiedmann. He is a police officer in 1953 and investigates the disappearance of Helge Doppler, eventually arresting Ulrich Nielsen who traveled back in time from 2019. In 1986, Egon investigates the disappearance of Mads Nielsen, believing 1986 Ulrich to be responsible for his brother’s disappearance. Also in 1986, Egon — who is months away from retirement — arrests Ulrich for raping Katharina, though that was a lie made up by that psycho Hannah. He really hates Ulrich. In 1987, he learns that time travel is real and understands who the older Ulrich actually is and starts to doubt his previous actions. He is accidentally killed by Claudia a few days later.
Karoline Eichhorn, Dark
Elisabeth Doppler (Carlotta Von Falkenhayn in 2019/2020; Sandra Borgmann in 2053)
Elisabeth is the youngest daughter of Charlotte and Peter Doppler. She is deaf and dated Yasin, who goes missing and is killed in 2019. One day, while walking home in the rain, Elisabeth meets the mysterious stranger Noah, who is both her mother Charlotte’s father and her own future husband. She is one of the few survivors of the apocalypse in 2020, and rises to become a leader of sorts in the apocalyptic future of 2053.
Franziska Doppler (Gina Alice Stiebitz in 2019/2020; Carina Weise in 1921)
Franziska is the eldest daughter of Charlotte and Peter Doppler. Her grandfather is Helge Doppler, whose parents were Greta and Bernd Doppler. Bernd worked for the nuclear power plant in Winden. She is currently dating Magnus Nielsen and apparently takes rhythmic gymnastics. Although it’s unconfirmed, she is likely the woman with Magnus and Adam in 1921.
Charlotte Doppler (Karoline Eichhorn in 2019/2020; Stephanie Amarell in 1986)
She was raised by H.G. Tannhaus, the clockmaker and creator of the time travel device. She is the mother of Franziska and Elisabeth and wife of Peter Doppler, who is secretly gay. Her father-in-law is Helge Doppler, who is desperate to undo everything he did in 1986. Charlotte works in law enforcement with Ulrich Nielsen and has a really bad habit of picking up dead birds, which is very unsanitary. In Season 2, it’s revealed Charlotte’s real parents are Noah and Elisabeth, her own daughter. Yes, you read that correctly.
Peter Doppler (Stephan Kampwirth)
Peter is a therapist and the son of Helge Doppler, who used to work at the nuclear power plant. Although he is married to Charlotte Doppler, he is gay but has not really accepted this. He witnesses the body of Mads Nielsen fall through a hole in time and space in 2019, after which he calls Tronte Nielsen, who moves Mads’ body to the woods where Ulrich Nielsen and Charlotte find it. He is the father of Franziska and Elisabeth Doppler.
Helge Doppler (Hermann Beyer in 2019; Peter Schneider in 1986/87; Tom Philipp in 1953/54)
Helge Doppler was the only son of the rich and powerful Greta and Bernd Doppler, who ran the nuclear power plant. He briefly went missing in 1953, when he traveled forward through time to 1986 after being attacked by the 2019 version of Ulrich Nielsen, who thought if he killed Helge in 1953, Mikkel would never go missing in 2019. He returns home in 1954. In 1986, Helge was manipulated by the mysterious stranger known as Noah, who told him to kidnap young children to use for experimentation. In 2019, Helge traveled back in time to 1986 in an attempt to stop his younger self. He dies there after ramming his car into the 1986 version of himself, but his younger self survives.
Noah (Mark Waschke in 1953/54, 1986/87, 2019/2020; Max Schimmelpfennig in 1921)
Noah is a priest working with Adam to bring about the apocalypse and create a new world without time. He is the son of Erna and brother of Agnes. He fathers Charlotte Doppler with Elisabeth Doppler, who, through a bit of timey-wimey madness, is also the daughter of Charlotte and Peter Doppler. He is killed by Agnes in 1921 after he turns on Adam after finding out the truth about his daughter, who is also his mother-in-law.
Dark is now streaming on Netflix.