Ulrich Nielsen is a headstrong police officer. He is married to Katharina Nielsen, but has an affair with Hannah Kahnwald. Following the disappearance of one of his children, Mikkel Nielsen, he fiercely attempts to find him, becoming entangled in Winden's mysteries.
Rebellious and resentful as a teen, Ulrich grows to become a carefree and loving (albeit unfaithful) family man. However, after his son Mikkel disappears and memories of his brother's disappearance resurface, he becomes unequivocally committed to finding them. Eventually, he turns reckless and obsessive to the point of attempting to murder a child.
Ulrich is seen as a troublesome youth in 1986. The disappearance of his brother, Mads Nielsen, and the inability of the police to locate him leaves him deeply resentful. He channels this emotion in rebelliousness, from wearing a jacket with the punk slogan "No Future" to listening to loud, aggressive music with lyrics like
- My only aim is to take many lives
The more the better I feel
He becomes friends with young Hannah Kahnwald after both meet during a stormy night at a bus stop. Hannah has a profound crush on him, but he is oblivious to it, and his romantic interests are directed to Katharina.
Jealous of the relationship, Hannah later presents a false testimony to police investigator Egon Tiedemann, accusing Ulrich of rape after seeing him and Katharina have sex. Egon was already suspicious of Ulrich in the case of Mads' disappearance, thinking he might be involved with Satanism. Katharina's physical injuries, actually inflicted by her mother, also seemed to corroborate the report. As a consequence, Ulrich spent several days in jail.
Ulrich is finally released and his mother, Jana Nielsen, vows to get Egon off Mads' case following the unjust arrest. Ulrich, seeing Egon as a drunk incompetent, vows to become a police officer himself to do it the right way.
On June 20, Ulrich tries to pressure Katharina into having sex, but is interrupted by Mikkel, who enters their bedroom having developed a red rash all over his body, which his mother recognizes as rubella. As they go to the hospital, they find Jonas, who was really travelling from another time. They are surprised he is not at the lake with the others and offer him a ride but he declines. Ulrich, Katharina and Mikkel stop at the Kahnwald's home to pick up some glasses for their party that evening.
Later, as the anniversary party drew to an end, Ulrich and Hannah kissed passionately, starting their affair.
Following Mikkel's disappearance, Ulrich becomes obsessed with finding him, taking him from Jürgen Obendorf's garage to the grounds of the Winden Nuclear Power Plant, the latter leading to his suspension from the police force. He tries to end his affair with Hannah, but she warns that she will not be gotten rid of so easily. During the course of the investigation, he finds parallels between his son's and his brother's cases, which eventually leads him to conclude a body found in Winden's forest was, in fact, Mads'.
As his marriage and personal life deteriorate, Ulrich further concludes that the elderly Helge Doppler is somehow connected to the disappearances occurring in Winden in 1986 and 2019. He confronts Helge in his room at the nursing home, then later follows him into the Winden Caves.
After following Helge through the forest, Ulrich ends up finding the wormhole and traveling back to 1953. There, he meets the childhood Helge and, convinced he can change the future by preventing Helge from kidnapping his brother and son, attempts to kill him. He fails to kill him, however, and paradoxically sets in motion the events that would lead Helge becoming Noah's henchman.
Ulrich also encounters the younger Egon, but his ranting and raving lead the police to think he is a maniac. He is arrested on suspicion of being connected to the disappearance of Helge Doppler; he refuses to say where he left Helge's body, or who he is, and is beaten up in his jail cell.
He is eventually committed to a mental asylum, where he is subjected to wearing a straitjacket, and the administration of heavy medication. Hannah from 2019 travels back to visit him, and Egon takes her to the institution. Bitter that Ulrich still loves Katharina instead of her, however, she leaves him there instead of helping him return to the future.
Ulrich spends the next 34 years locked in a psychiatric hospital, gaining a bit of notoriety among the patients and staff who call him the “Inspector” since no one knows his real name.
He is eventually visited on 22 June 1987 by an elderly Egon, who is revisiting his old cases, trying to understand the unusual events that unfolded in Winden. Egon shows Ulrich a picture of a boy—who unbeknownst to him is his son Mikkel. This causes Ulrich to lose his temper, and make plans to escape the institution to find him.
Ulrich finds Mikkel at the Kahnwald residence, where Ines Kahnwald has taken him in, and Mikkel recognizes him as his father. Ulrich attempts to return to the Winden Caves to take him back to 2019, but is stopped by the police and Ines. An enraged Ulrich vows to kill Egon, before he is seen back at the hospital, strapped down to his bed.
2019 (alternate version) Edit
November 4 Edit
Ulrich walks into Hannah's room and awakes her. Hannah tells him she had trouble sleeping. Ulrich tells her he took a while to make it home because the baker's was full and joked the apocalypse was nearing them. Hannah asks him to stay, but he has to leave. He tells her they would see each other that evening, and Hannah stands up, revealing she was pregnant. She tells him she loves him, and Ulrich tells her she is beautiful.
Ulrich mentions to the rest of the police station that Erik Obendorf had been missing for nearly two weeks. Torben is present in the meeting, with both eyes intact, but missing his left arm. When Ulrich asks for ideas, Charlotte mentions they had not received the shift schedules from the power plant yet. Ulrich nods and asks her to check with Tiedemann.
Charlotte returns to the police station, where she is called by Ulrich. In there, Ulrich begins kissing her, and she says they need to stop. Torben walks in and gives them information which Ulrich finds irrelevant, but Charlotte tells him they can work with it. At the police station, Ulrich tells Charlotte he is going to the parents meeting and offers her a ride, which she accepts.
November 5 Edit
At the police station, Ulrich lets everybody know that Bartosz, Magnus, Kilian, Martha, and Franziska had found a body at the Doppler's bunker. Crying, he mentions that the clothes are from the 80's and that they found a card which identified the body as his brother Mads Nielsen. Charlotte pulls Ulrich away, and tells him he does not have to be there at such a difficult time for him, as Wöller could do briedings and she could do forensics. Ulrich reminds her that he spent 33 years looking for his brother, and mentions the body had all of Mads' things, which were kept until the moment the body was "placed" in the bunker. Charlotte asks him if he believes the killer was connected to Mads, Erik, and the boy in the bunker. Ulrich does not give a direct answer, and reminds her that he became a police officer because when his brother went missing, the detective was a moron and did every mistake the could have possibly made. However, Ulrich is now looking at himself and believes he is becoming worse, as he cheated on his wife, and cheated on Hannah as well. After he comes to this realization, he leaves.
Alternate reality Martha is on her bed, but gets up when she hears the doorbell. She opens it up only to see her father at the door. Ulrich asks if he can come inside, and Martha allows it. He asks if Magnus is in the house, and asks Martha to tell him what really happened in the bunker. Martha tells him that she meant everything she had said when she told him the bunker was empty when they got there, but after a light shined, a body fell into it. Ulrich asks if they had taken anything that might have altered their perception, and a shocked Martha asks if he really thought that. Ulrich restructured his question, asking if Kilian had given her anything as Magnus walked down the stairs. Ulrich asks him what he had taken before entering the bunker as well and Magnus asks him if he means it seriously and if he had suddenly become the caring type, as he normally does not care what they do. Martha repeats that what they had originally told him still applies. Magnus asks Ulrich if that was it, as his mother was going to be home at any minute and it would be best if he left. He also sarcastically comments that it was nice that he had dropped by to see how they were doing. Ulrich leaves after that, and calls the dorms Kilian was staying in, asking him if he had slipped Martha something.
When Helge confessed to Mads' murder, Ulrich gets to the police station. Shaken, he grabs Helge and asks him what he did to Mads before Helge simply recognizes Ulrich is alive, and realizes that it was him while holding up the necklace with the coin. Ulrich asks what he is saying, while Helge repeats that it was him, referring to the man who destroyed his eye.
- He is the only character to appear in all of the 10 episodes of the first season.
- → See 93 images of Ulrich Nielsen at Images of Ulrich Nielsen.
- ↑ Ulrich was 15 in November 1986, placing his year of birth 15 or 16 years prior (1970 or 1971). However, in S01E02, Katharina tells Martha that Ulrich's brother, Mads, was three years younger than him. Mads was born on December 4, 1973, placing Ulrich's birth year necessarily in 1970.