Dark (TV series)

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Created by
StarringSee below
Theme music composerApparat
Opening theme"Goodbye"
Composer(s)Ben Frost
Country of originGermany
United States
Original language(s)German
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Baran bo Odar
  • Jantje Friese
  • Quirin Berg
  • Max Wiedemann
  • Justyna Müsch
Production location(s)Germany
CinematographyNikolaus Summerer[1]
Running time45–57 minutes
Production company(s)Wiedemann & Berg Television
Original networkNetflix
Picture format4K (Ultra HD)
Original releaseDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01) – present
External links

Dark is a science fiction thriller web series co-created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese.[1][2][3] It is the first German-language Netflix original series and debuted on Netflix's streaming service on December 1, 2017. The first season received mostly positive reviews from critics. It has been compared and contrasted to the other Netflix series Stranger Things.[4][5][6] A second season has been approved by Netflix with production to begin in 2018.[7]


Children start disappearing from the fictional[8] German town of Winden, bringing to light the fractured relationships, double lives, and dark past of four families living there, and revealing a mystery that spans three generations. The series follows Jonas Kahnwald, a teenager struggling to cope with his father's suicide; police officer Ulrich Nielsen, whose brother disappeared 33 years earlier; and police chief Charlotte Doppler.

The story begins in 2019 but spreads to include storylines in 1986 and 1953 via time travel, as certain characters of the show's core families grow aware of the existence of a wormhole in the cave system beneath the local nuclear power plant, which is under the management of the influential Tiedemann family. During the first season, secrets begin to be revealed concerning the Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann families, and their lives start to crumble as the ties become evident between the missing children and the history of the town and its citizens.

Cast and characters[edit]

The first season takes place mainly in 2019 but includes stories set in 1986 and 1953, with several characters being portrayed at various ages by multiple actors.

Kahnwald family[edit]

Character Description Actor (2019) Actor (1986) Actor (1953)
Jonas Kahnwald A high school student struggling with his father's suicide Louis Hofmann
(also appears in the 1986 storyline)
Michael Kahnwald Jonas' father, an artist whose suicide opens the series Sebastian Rudolph Daan Lennard Liebrenz
(see Mikkel Nielsen)
Hannah Kahnwald (née Krüger) Jonas' mother, a massage therapist Maja Schöne Ella Lee
Ines Kahnwald Michael's adoptive mother, a nurse Angela Winkler Anne Ratte-Polle Lena Urzendowsky
Sebastian Krüger Hannah's blue-collar father Denis Schmidt
Daniel Kahnwald Ines' father, Winden police chief in 1953 Florian Panzner

Nielsen family[edit]

Character Description Actor (2019) Actor (1986) Actor (1953)
Martha Nielsen Jonas' love interest. Lisa Vicari
Magnus Nielsen Mikkel and Martha's brother. Moritz Jahn
Mikkel Nielsen Magnus and Martha's younger brother. Daan Lennard Liebrenz
(also appears in the 1986 storyline, becoming Michael Kahnwald)
Ulrich Nielsen Katharina's husband; Magnus, Martha and Mikkel's father, a police officer. Oliver Masucci
(also appears in the 1953 storyline)
Ludger Bökelmann
Katharina Nielsen Ulrich's wife; Magnus, Martha, and Mikkel's mother; a high school principal. Jördis Triebel Nele Trebs
Mads Nielsen Ulrich's younger brother, who disappeared in 1986. Valentin Oppermann
Tronte Nielsen Jana's husband; Mads and Ulrich's father. Walter Kreye Felix Kramer Joshio Marlon
Jana Nielsen Tronte's wife; Mads and Ulrich's mother. Tatja Seibt Anne Lebinsky Rike Sindler
Agnes Nielsen Tronte's mother. Antje Traue

Doppler family[edit]

Character Description Actor (2019) Actor (1986) Actor (1953)
Franziska Doppler Jonas, Magnus, and Martha's classmate Gina Stiebitz
Elisabeth Doppler Franziska's deaf younger sister Carlotta von Falkenhayn
Peter Doppler Franziska and Elisabeth's father and Jonas' psychologist Stephan Kampwirth
Charlotte Doppler Peter's wife, Franziska and Elisabeth's mother, and the Winden chief of police in 2019 Karoline Eichhorn Stephanie Amarell
Helge Doppler Peter's father, a longtime power plant guard Hermann Beyer
(also appears in the 1986 storyline)
Peter Schneider Tom Philipp
(also appears in the 1986 storyline)
Bernd Doppler Helge's father, founder of the Winden nuclear power plant Michael Mendl Anatole Taubman
Greta Doppler Bernd's wife and Helge's mother Cordelia Wege
H.G. Tannhaus Charlotte's grandfather,[9] a clockmaker Christian Steyer Arnd Klawitter

Tiedemann family[edit]

Character Description Actor (2019) Actor (1986) Actor (1953)
Bartosz Tiedemann Jonas' best friend and Martha's boyfriend Paul Lux (de)
Regina Tiedemann Bartosz' mother, a hotel manager Deborah Kaufmann (de) Lydia Makrides
Aleksander Tiedemann Bartosz' father, director of the nuclear plant in 2019 Peter Benedict (de) Béla Gabor Lenz (de)
Claudia Tiedemann Regina's mother, director of the nuclear plant in 1986 Lisa Kreuzer
(also appears in the 1953 storyline)
Julika Jenkins Gwendolyn Göbel
Egon Tiedemann Claudia's father, a police officer Christian Pätzold (de) Sebastian Hülk (de)
Doris Tiedemann Claudia's mother and Egon's wife Luise Heyer

Additional cast[edit]

Recurring supporting cast[edit]

  • Nils Brunkhorst as the high school's science teacher in 2019
  • Lena Dörrie as Clara Schrage, a nurse attending to Helge Doppler in 2019
  • Tara Fischer as a friend of Katharina in 1986
  • Leopold Hornung as Torben Wöller, a junior police officer in 2019
  • Tom Jahn as Jürgen Obendorf, Erik Obendorf's father
  • Anna König as Edda Heimann, a pathologist in 2019
  • Vico Mücke as Yasin Friese, Elisabeth Doppler's friend in 2019
  • Barbara Philipp as Selma Ahrens, a 1986 caseworker
  • Paul Radom as Erik Obendorf, a teenage drug dealer gone missing in 2019
  • Anton Rubtsov as Benni/Bernadette, a transgender prostitute in 2019
  • Anna Schönberg as Nurse Donata, Ines Kahnwald's co-worker in 1986
  • Mieke Schymura as Officer Jankowski, a junior police officer in 2019
  • Lea Willkowsky as Jasmin Trewen, Claudia Tiedemann's secretary in 1986

Family trees[edit]


Season 1 (2017)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Baran bo OdarDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)
In June 2019, 43-year-old Michael Kahnwald commits suicide, but his mother, Ines, hides his suicide letter before anyone else notices it. On November 4, after months of treatment at a psychiatric facility, Michael's teenage son, Jonas, returns to school, and reunites with best friend Bartosz Tiedemann, who is now dating Jonas' love interest Martha. Erik Obendorf, the high school's main supplier of marijuana, has been missing for two weeks, and police officer Ulrich Nielsen – the father of Martha and her brothers, teenager Magnus and pre-teen Mikkel – has been assigned the investigation, which struggles to uncover any clues. Meanwhile, Ulrich is also cheating on his wife, high school principal Katharina, with Jonas' mother Hannah. While searching for Erik's stash of drugs in a cave not far from the town's soon-to-be closed down nuclear power plant, Jonas, Bartosz, the three Nielsen children, and schoolmate Franziska Doppler are frightened by strange sounds and their flickering flashlights, and Mikkel disappears as they flee the cave. The next day, the body of a young boy is discovered, but it is not Mikkel. At an unknown location, a hooded figure straps Erik to a chair, while clamping a mechanism around his head.
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Ronny SchalkDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)
Mikkel's disappearance brings back memories from 1986, when Ulrich's younger brother Mads vanished, and Ulrich starts believing that the disappearances of Erik, Mikkel and the body of the third boy are related. While searching the caves, he finds a locked door leading to the nearby nuclear power plant, and although Ulrich's request to enter the power plant is refused by its director Aleksander Tiedemann, Bartosz' father, he is still able to discard the father of Erik Obendorf, a power plant driver, from his list of suspects. Police chief Charlotte Doppler is informed that the dead boy, dressed in a 1980s outfit, died only 16 hours earlier, and that his ears were destroyed by extreme pressure. Later, as lights start flickering and birds fall dead from the sky, Charlotte grows even more concerned. Meanwhile, an unkempt stranger checks into the hotel owned by Bartosz' mother, Regina. Ulrich's mother Jana lies to Ulrich, claiming that her husband Tronte was with her the night of Mikkel's disappearance, while knowing he left their house. At dawn, a disoriented Mikkel wakes up in the cave and runs home, only to discover what date he now lives in: November 5, 1986.
3"Past and Present"
"Gestern und Heute"
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Marc O. SengDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)
In 1986, four weeks after the disappearance of Mads Nielsen, a desperate Mikkel is taken in by police officer Egon Tiedemann, who suspects he has been beaten by the teenage Ulrich. Mikkel is brought to the hospital by nurse Ines Kahnwald, who gains his trust. At the nuclear plant, newly elected director Claudia Tiedemann, Egon's daughter and Regina's mother, clashes with her predecessor Bernd Doppler, who informs her of secret barrels hidden in the nearby caves. Bernd's son, guard Helge, gives Claudia a book: Eine Reise durch die Zeit (A Journey Through Time) by H. G. Tannhaus. Meanwhile, as the town's electricity is flickering, a teenaged Charlotte starts investigating the deaths of multiple birds, while shy young Hannah has an unrequited crush on Ulrich, and Regina is being bullied and engages in self-harm. A flock of sheep is found dead from cardiac arrest with their eardrums ruptured, and, in an undisclosed location, a man surrounded by clocks tinkers with a brass machine. Mikkel sneaks away from the hospital and returns to the caves; after injuring himself, he calls for help. In 2019, Ulrich, also having returned to the caves, hears his faint calls, but they are unable to see each other.
4"Double Lives"
Baran bo OdarMartin Behnke & Jantje FrieseDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)
In 2019, Jonas finds maps and notes about the caves in his family's garage, while Charlotte tries to find a connection between the disappeared boys and the dead birds, which – just like the dead boy – are found to have burst eardrums. The birds also show similar symptoms to birds found after the Chernobyl disaster, and Charlotte suspects connections to the Winden events of 1986. Meanwhile, her marriage to psychologist Peter is crumbling since he was discovered to be having an affair with a transgender prostitute, and she finds evidence that Peter was out driving the night of Mikkel's disappearance, despite him claiming otherwise. Their oldest daughter, Franziska, confides in Magnus Nielsen that she plans to leave Winden due to her parents' wrecked marriage, and they end up having sex. Franziska's younger sister, the deaf Elisabeth, goes missing after school, but eventually returns home, explaining that she met a mysterious man, Noah, who gave her a watch once belonging to Charlotte. Meanwhile, Peter's father Helge, who is suffering from dementia, is found roaming the forest, claiming that he "must stop Noah". The next morning, a hooded figure approaches Elisabeth's friend, Yasin, and tells him that Noah has sent him.
Baran bo OdarMartin Behnke & Jantje FrieseDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)

In 1986, Mikkel is in the hospital after breaking his leg in the cave, and is visited by a priest: Noah. After having witnessed Ulrich and Katharina having sex, Hannah falsely tells the police that she saw Ulrich rape Katharina, and Ulrich is arrested.

In 2019, with Yasin also vanished, panic is starting to spread, and Charlotte accuses Peter of being involved in the boys' disappearances. Hannah wants to resume her affair with Ulrich, but he angrily refuses. At the hotel, the Stranger tells Regina to deliver a package to Jonas while he is away for a few days, and at Michael's grave, the Stranger approaches Jonas, telling him that his father once saved his life. Bartosz meets Erik Obendorf's drug supplier, who is shown to be the same priest who visited Mikkel 33 years earlier. Later, Jonas receives the Stranger's package, containing a light, a Geiger counter, and Michael's suicide letter. In the letter Jonas' father explains that on 4 November 2019, he traveled back to 1986, where he stayed and grew up, raised by Ines, eventually marrying Hannah and fathering Jonas. Thus Mikkel Nielsen became Michael Kahnwald.
6""Thus the world was created""
"Sic Mundus Creatus Est"
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Ronny SchalkDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)
In 2019, Mikkel's family struggles not to turn against each other, Regina finds out that she has breast cancer, and Ulrich learns that his father was having an affair with Claudia at the time of Mads' disappearance. After learning that Regina was the last one to see Mads in 1986, Ulrich confronts her, and while she admits to detesting him for bullying her during their childhood, she also makes him see that Hannah was the one framing him for rape. Visiting the morgue, Ulrich finally realizes that the dead boy is Mads, not aged since 33 years ago. Meanwhile, Jonas fails to tell his mother about the suicide letter, but enters the caves armed with his father's notes and the equipment from the package sent by the Stranger. Within the caves, he finds a door with a Latin phrase, Sic mundus creatus est ("Thus the world was created"), and after crawling through to the other side, he notices flyers put up for the missing Mads Nielsen. A van drives by and stops: it's 14-year-old Hannah and her father Sebastian, offering him a ride in the rain, warning him about acid rain from the recent Chernobyl disaster.
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Marc O. SengDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)

In 2019, the police are finally allowed to enter the power plant, and Charlotte finds a welded shut door in the caves. Meanwhile, Ulrich finds Egon's 1986 notes, making Helge a suspect, and visits him at the nursing home. Frightened, Helge claims to be able to change past and future. Ulrich is suspended from work and Katharina confronts him about his affair. Charlotte discovers that the cave system goes beneath an old cabin owned by Helge, and later she receives a voice message from Ulrich, stating that Helge is the kidnapper, but that the question is not how he is doing it, but when. Late at night, Helge leaves the nursing home, followed by Ulrich, who brings a book from Helge's room: Eine Reise durch die Zeit by H.G. Tannhaus.

In 1986, Helge, who was working at the plant the night Mads disappeared, is questioned by Egon about his whereabouts. The Stranger warns Jonas that taking Mikkel back home will result in Jonas never being born. Katharina unsuccessfully attempts to convince Egon that Ulrich never raped her, and Helge and Noah prepare to move Yasin's dead body from a bunker behind Helge's cabin.
8"As You Sow, So You Shall Reap"
"Was man sät, das wird man ernten"
Baran bo OdarMartin Behnke & Jantje FrieseDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)

In 1953, birds begin to die, and the unidentified bodies of Erik and Yasin are discovered. Police chief Daniel Kahnwald and officer Egon Tiedemann are puzzled by the boys' odd outfits. Ulrich arrives from 2019, and meets several locals, including newcomer Agnes Nielsen and her son Tronte, who are about to rent a room in the Tiedemann house, and a watchmaker named H.G. Tannhaus, who declines knowledge of the book found in Helge's 2019 home. Through the young Ines and Jana, Ulrich learns of the two bodies, and when introduced to the 9-year-old Helge, he realizes killing him will save the lives of the boys. He bludgeons Helge, and leaves him for dead in the bunker. Later, Tannhaus finds Ulrich's smartphone.

In 1986, the Stranger meets with an elderly Tannhaus, who shares his theory of time travel through wormholes. The Stranger confirms his theories, and states that such a wormhole, allowing people to travel 33 years into the past or into the future, exists in Winden. He asks Tannhaus to fix a broken brass device of his, so he can destroy the wormhole. Tannhaus later brings out a newer version of the device, studying them side by side.
9"Everything is Now"
"Alles ist Jetzt"
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Marc O. SengDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)

In 1986, Ulrich is freed from rape accusations, and Hannah secretly discovers that a newly arrived young man, who calls himself Aleksander Tiedemann, is living under a false identity. Claudia encounters her dog Gretchen, who disappeared in 1953, alive and well by the caves, and starts to read Tannhaus' book. When Bernd admits that the hidden barrels contain byproducts of a small meltdown, Claudia hires Aleksander to secretly weld shut the door to them. In an argument with Helge (revealing that the abducted boys died from Noah's attempt to create a time machine) Noah states his mission to free humanity, likening himself to the Biblical Noah.
In 2019, Hannah uses her knowledge of Aleksander's past to blackmail him into destroying Ulrich's life, while Regina discovers the Stranger's research. Bartosz is approached by Claudia, his supposedly dead grandmother. Later, Bartosz meets with Noah, and agrees to join him.

In 1953, Helge has been reported missing, and Noah – appearing the same age as in 1986 and 2019 – offers pastoral support to Helge's mother, Greta. Ulrich is arrested and confesses to murdering Helge. The Claudia of 2019 enters Tannhaus' shop with blueprints for the brass machine, asking him to build it for her.
10"Alpha and Omega"
"Alpha und Omega"
Baran bo OdarJantje Friese & Ronny SchalkDecember 1, 2017 (2017-12-01)

During the night of Mikkel's disappearance, Peter is visiting the solitude of Helge's cabin when Mads' body suddenly appears. He calls Tronte to the cabin, and Claudia arrives, telling them to move the corpse.
In 1986, Noah and Helge kidnap Jonas, who has returned to bring Mikkel back to 2019. Also having returned to 1986, the elderly Helge is later killed while attempting to stop his younger self by driving a car into him. Jonas awakes in the bunker, accompanied by the Stranger, who reveals himself to be the adult Jonas and leaves to destroy the wormhole by using the brass machine, which Tannhaus has completed from the broken version brought by the adult Jonas and Ulrich's smartphone.
In 2019, Charlotte finds a 1953 article on Helge's kidnapping, including a photo of Ulrich. Noah tells Bartosz that Claudia is their main adversary, and that the adult Jonas, unwittingly, is about to create the wormhole.

In 1953, 9-year-old Helge regains consciousness as the wormhole appears, connecting him to Jonas in 1986. As they reach out to each other, Helge is transported to 1986, while Jonas awakes in a post-apocalyptic Winden of 2052,[10] getting knocked out by an armed girl.


Netflix approved the series in February 2016 for a first season consisting of 10 one-hour episodes.[11][1] Principal photography started on October 18, 2016 in and around Berlin and ended in March 2017.[1] The series was filmed in 4K (Ultra HD) resolution.[12] It is the first German-language Netflix original series and follows a trend of internationally produced Netflix originals, including the Mexican series Club de Cuervos in 2015, the Brazilian series 3% in 2016, and the Italian series Suburra: Blood on Rome in 2017.


The first season of the series was released on December 1, 2017.

A second season was announced with a short teaser on the German Facebook pages of the series and Netflix on December 20, 2017,[13][14] although no time frame has been confirmed for its creation or release.


The first season received mostly positive reviews from critics, with many noting its similarity to the 1990s TV series Twin Peaks and the 2016 Netflix series Stranger Things. It has a score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7 out of 10 based on 38 critics.[15] The series was praised for its tone, the complexity of its narrative, and its pacing.[6] Many claimed that it was darker and more in depth than Stranger Things, and far more evocative of the tone of Twin Peaks.[4] However, there was some criticism of its heavy-handed approach to its message, the lack of sympathetic characters, and the unoriginality of certain aspects of the series.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The series was nominated for the Goldene Kamera TV awards 2018 in three categories: best series; best actress: Karoline Eichhorn as Charlotte Doppler; and best actor: Oliver Masucci as Ulrich Nielsen.[16] None of these nominations resulted in being awarded, but Louis Hofmann received the "Best newcomer acting award" of the "Goldene Kamera" TV awards 2018, also in recognition of his lead role in Dark.[17]

The series was awarded with the 2018 Grimme-Preis award in the category "fiction", which singled out the following cast and crew for awards:

  1. Jantje Friese (screenplay)
  2. Baran bo Odar (director)
  3. Udo Kramer (production design)
  4. Simone Baer (casting)
  5. Angela Winkler (actress)
  6. Louis Hofmann (actor)
  7. Oliver Masucci (actor)

The actors named are awarded as "representatives for the full cast".[18]


  2. ^ "Netflix Drops Teaser for New German Series Dark - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  3. ^ Netflix (2017-10-04), Dark | Teaser [HD] | Netflix, retrieved 2017-10-04
  4. ^ a b "Is This New German Netflix Show The Next Stranger Things". Refinery 29. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b "You Won't Be Afraid of This Dark, But You Might Be Bored". Reason.com. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Dark review – a classy, knotty, time-travelling whodunnit for TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Dark renewed for season 2 by Netflix".
  8. ^ Rogers, Thomas (23 Nov 2017). "With 'Dark,' a German Netflix Series, Streaming Crosses a New Border". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  9. ^ Charlotte Doppler. dark.netflix.io
  10. ^ Jonas Kahnwald. dark.netflix.io
  11. ^ "Netflix Confirms First German Series 'Dark' From Baran bo Odar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  12. ^ "Dark". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Second season on Facebook announced". DARKNetflix on Facebook. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  14. ^ "Netflix announces second season on Facebook". Netflix on Facebook. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  15. ^ "Dark: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  16. ^ UG, Viktor Pulz - OGLabs Germany. "Dark: 3 Nominierungen für die Goldene Kamera - Newsslash.com". Newsslash.com. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  17. ^ Attimonelli, Alexander. ""GOLDENE KAMERA Nachwuchspreis": Louis Hofmann".
  18. ^ "54. Grimme-Preis 2018 for "Dark"". 54. Grimme-Preis 2018 (in German). Retrieved 14 March 2018.

External links[edit]