Dark, the show that revolves around time travel with its most challenging concept centred around understanding the elaborate family tree between the main characters.
At its heart, Dark is a family drama based on four key surnames: Doppler, Nielsen, Kahnwald and Tiedemann.
Virtually every character is tied into one of those camps by one or more messed up circumstances, and we’re here to try and make sense of it all.
One of the most helpful resources to help you make sense of it all is this Dark family tree but RadioTimes.com is on hand to help put meat on the bones and connect the dots so you can begin to work out what you’ve just seen.
*Contains spoilers from Dark season 1 and 2*
The Doppler family may be the most fluid right now, with season 2 revelations blowing their family tree into oblivion.
At the top of the tree we have Bernd and Greta Doppler. Bernd is the driving force behind the nuclear power plant, while Greta is a stern-faced housewife who looks after their son Helge Doppler.
Helge works as a clean at the nuclear power plant as a middle-aged man.
We aren’t given any specific mention of a partner, though in the present day, his son Peter Doppler claims to have arrived in Winden in 1987.
Peter is unhappily married to police chief Charlotte Doppler. He is known to have been seeing prostitute Benni, though the couple attempt to keep the disharmony hidden. Now, are you ready for the messed up part…? Peter and Charlotte have two daughters – Franziska and Elisabeth.
However, a jaw-dropping revelation in season 2 shows that Charlotte – who was raised by time machine inventor H.G. Tannhaus – is actually the daughter of the villainous Noah and… Elisabeth Doppler. Yes, to confirm: Charlotte is Elisabeth’s mother and daughter. Elisabeth is Charlotte’s mother and daughter.
Implications include: Peter is Charlotte’s husband and grandfather. Franziska is Charlotte’s daughter and aunt. Noah is Charlotte’s father and great grandfather.
The Nielsen family are closely linked to the Dopplers via Noah. Noah’s sister Agnes in the highest identified Nielsen in the chain.
Agnes mysteriously arrives in Winden with her son Tronte Nielsen.
Tronte is married to Jana, but is having an affair with Claudia Tiedemann. Tronte and Jana’s son Ulrich begins his rebellious streak during his teenage years.
During the 80s, Ulrich and Katharina begin dating, around the time of Ulrich’s brother Mads’ disappearance.
Fast-forward to the present day, Ulrich and Katharina are married with three children: Magnus, Martha and Mikkel. Brace yourselves… when Mikkel vanishes in 2019, he is led to 1986 where he is cared for by Ines Kahnwald and renamed ‘Michael Kahnwald’.
The Kahnwalds may be the smallest family, but they pack a punch, with so many storylines floating in and around their cluster.
Daniel Kahnwald is one of the investigators at the scene of the nuclear power planet when the bodies of two boys show up in mysterious circumstances. His daughter Ines is present in the 50s.
As mentioned above, Nurse Ines adopts Mikkel in the 80s, renaming him Michael, and he grows up to fall in love with Hannah Kruger.
Michael is married to Hannah, and they have one known child, Jonas – who proves to be the main character of the whole show. Jonas is seen in teenage form, as The Stranger as an adult, and at his oldest form as time-travelling string-puller Adam.
To mess things up once more, Hannah is engaged in a passionate affair with Ulrich Nielsen having had a crush on him throughout most of her life since the 80s. Hannah is cheating on Michael, with his dad, unbeknown to them.
The link also means that Jonas, who is romantically involved with Martha Nielsen, is actually her nephew.
To muddy the waters even further, Hannah travelled back to the 50s where she now seems destined to stay in season 3 and sparks already appear to be flying between herself and a younger Egon Tiedemann, which leads us nicely (or as nicely as can be) to…
The Tiedemann family could be huge players in season 3 having grown in importance throughout season 2.
Egon and Doris Tiedemann are at the head of the family in the 50s. Egon is usually busy with his police work, while Doris strikes up a love affair with Agnes Nielson, currently living in the Tiedemann upon her arrival to Winden.
In the 80s, Egon and Doris’ now-adult daughter Claudia Tiedemann assumes control of the nuclear power plant from Bernd Doppler. She has a daughter, Regina, but the father is not known. Claudia travelled forward to the present day and her disappearance was recorded as a death in the 80s.
Regina Tiedemann owns a hotel in Winden before being diagnosed with breast cancer. She married Aleksander – the current director of the nuclear power plant – and he took her surname after arriving in Winden under peculiar circumstances in 1986. He arrives as Boris Niewald, wielding a gun after appearing to be on the run. In 2019, his secret is threatened to be exposed by massage therapist Hannah Kahnwald.
Alexander and Regina have one known son, Bartosz. He is Jonas Kahnwald’s best friend at school before starting to date Martha while Jonas is not around. They develop a rivalry over Martha, while Bartosz is recruited by Noah to assist in the ongoing time war with Adam.
The top line
The brother and sister duo of Noah and Agnes appear to be top of the family tree for now, but speculation continues to swirl over the identity of their parents – who started it all off?
Fans of the show know that every space will be filled eventually, and that nobody is related to anyone else by sheer chance, everything is connected.
One of the most common theories suggests that in true biblical fashion, Adam is top of the tree, the father of Noah and Agnes. Logically that theory would require an Eve, the most likely candidate being Martha, regardless of all the messed up ramifications of that situation.
Whatever happens, expect Dark season 3 to add more confusing dots and dashes in and around the family tree before we reach some form of end… or is it the beginning?