Ulrich Nielsen works as the Winden police inspector. He follows his gut instincts and can be quick-tempered, but is a loving father to his children Magnus, Martha, and Mikkel. He has a strained relationship with his father Tronte.
When Mikkel disappears, Ulrich's world is turned upside down. He'll go to any length to find his son, legality aside. His boss Charlotte Doppler eventually removes him from the case – it's too close to home.
Ulrich's response is understandable: In 1986, his younger brother Mads vanished. At the time, Ulrich was a rebellious teen with a taste for thrash metal – a completely different person than he is today, aside from the fact that he was already dating Katharina.
Ulrich continues to investigate regardless. He knows that the body found in the wood with the penny around its neck is his brother Mads, but he can't figure out how that could be possible.
Several clues lead Ulrich to Helge Doppler, who is now in a nursing home suffering from dementia. Ulrich suspects he has something to do with the disappearances of Mikkel and Mads. Ulrich finds two things in Helge's room that reinforce his suspicions: another penny on a red string and a copy of the book "A Journey Through Time."
Journey to the past
When Helge Doppler sneaks out of his nursing home at night and heads toward the Winden caves, Ulrich follows. He gets as far as the time travel passage, but chooses the wrong door. Instead of traveling to 1986, he ends up in 1953, where he meets is grandmother Agnes and his father Tronte as a boy. Ulrich accidentally leaves his smartphone in the clockmaker's shop.
He also meets Helge Doppler as a boy. Ulrich believes he can prevent Mads' death and the disappearance of the other children if he kills Helge. Ulrich knocks the boy unconscious with a stone and leaves him in the bunker next to the cabin in the woods.
On the way back to the caves and his own time, blood-splattered Ulrich is intercepted and arrested by Egon Tiedemann, who was out searching for information about the recently-discovered bodies of Erik Obendorf and Yasin Friese. Ulrich is held under suspicion of child murder. He refuses to cooperate with the police, taunting Egon and claiming he can change the course of time.
Sixty-six years later, Charlotte Doppler finds a photo of her missing colleague in the police archive – it's dated 1953.
Egon and Ulrich
Ulrich has never had a good relationship with Egon Tiedemann. In 1986, the aging policeman kept a close eye on Ulrich and thought his taste for metal music was evidence that the teen was a Satanist. Ulrich likewise mocked Egon for his drinking and despised him for failing to find Mads.
When Hannah Kahnwald tells Egon that Ulrich raped Katharina, the policeman is quick to believe it and has Ulrich arrested. After Katharina emphatically denies the accusations, Egon is forced to let him go.
An ill-fated affair
Hannah has been in love with Ulrich since 1986, but he has never taken any notice. In 2019, they end up having a passionate affair, but when Ulrich suddenly breaks it off, Hannah is deeply offended. A hair on Ulrich's clothing and a look through his cell phone bill reveal the affair to Katharina and she is likewise upset. She confronts Ulrich about it, but he can't admit to it.