Breinersdorfer studied law and sociology from the universities in Mainz and Tübingen and received a PhD from the University of Tübingen. As a young lawyer, Breinersdorfer started a practice as an attorney at law, specializing in constitutional and administration law in Stuttgart. He lives in Berlin, Germany and has two children, Leonie, a lawyer and writer, and Julian, an architect.
He wrote his first crime novel in 1980, which developed into a successful detective book and movie series about French attorney Jean Abel. In 1994, Breinersdorfer lost a close political race, running for German Federal Parliament as a SPD candidate for the party of Willy Brandt. After the race and ready for a change, he closed his law practice to become a full-time professional writer. His credits include 12 novels, a formidable list of short stories, theatrical productions, radio plays, and 65 movies and prime-time TV movies. He was the president of the German Writer's Association (VS) and is currently a member of the German P.E.N. and the Deutsche Filmakademie. Fred Breinersdorfer was awarded the German Film Award, the "Adolph Grimme Preis mit Gold" (known as the German TV Oscar), and nominated for several other awards. He became world renown as a writer and co-producer for Sophie Scholl: The Final Days when the movie was nominated for the 2006 Academy Award (Foreign Language Film).