Doctor Niels Sørenson is a Norwegian scientist who is also "Patient Zero" of the Red Flu.
Niels is very narcissistic, believing his abilities surpass everyone else's or he holds a key component to solving their problems. When the pandemic broke out he thought he knew better than his mentor and went behind his back to perform a risky experiment. When he realized he made himself a carrier, he didn't come forward because there was nothing in it for him and believed Dr. Scott needed his DNA to make a vaccine. Even after realizing it he willfully infected people, not caring that they would die. He even tries to take credit for making the cure by claiming Dr. Scott used his research to do it, when he had no involvement in the cure development whatsoever. Whenever he is given a task he will stress how lucky people are to have him and when he successfully completes a task he will sing his own praises to everyone within earshot. He has no loyalty to anyone except himself and will serve whichever side that will benefit him.
Niels was born in raised in Norway where he eventually became a scientist and earning his doctorate studying under Dr. Jonas Lindblom. Niels eventually met a woman named Maja, fell in love with her, and got engaged to her. In 2011 he personally meet and shook hands with Dr. Rachel Scott at the European Congress of Biology conference and he listened to her lecture.
When the Red Flu pandemic initially began, Niels argued that they needed to ignore protocols and start implementing radical measures to counteract the virus. Professor Lindblom arrives telling Niels that what he is proposing is dangerous and those protocols are what separate science from speculation. While the other return to the lab, Niels throws his papers on the floor in frustration. At home he complains to Maja about how Lindblom has no imagination when combating the virus while others are making real progress. Niels decides to go back to work, blowing off his meeting with Maja's parents to discuss wedding plans.
He experimented on himself and added his own human gene to the Egyptian strain of the virus and injected it back into his bloodstream. All this was in an attempt to allow the human body to make himself immune to the virus and make antibodies, which worked, Niels saw his bodies producing antibodies. What Niels didn't realize at the time was that it also allowed the virus to replicate unchecked. This also allowed the virus to be used as a bioweapon. After he left the lab he took Maja to dinner to celebrate his "breakthrough" and tells Maja about what he did. While out with her he unknowingly infects Maja with the virus.
Niels meets with Professor Lindblom to try and get him to see that his idea to combat the virus with gene splicing is brilliant. But Lindblom argues that what he is proposing was already tried on mouse pox with the Australians and was a complete disaster as a result. When Niels tell Lindblom he already inserted his gene into the virus and injected it into himself, Lindblom runs away from him knowing he now made himself a carrier. Niels thinks he was just being stubborn and proceeds to meet up with Maja before her conference, where she begins to exhibit flu like symptoms. (“SOS”)
Before Maja leaves Niels kisses her goodbye and tells her he will miss her. She takes flights through Britain, Germany, and Italy before she collapses from the effects of the virus while Niels remains unaware of her death. When everyone around him dies, Niels eventually realizes what he has done and spends a few weeks alone. He is out walking when Russian helicopters appear and capture him, telling Niels he will help him save the world. Niels revealed what he knew about the virus, including infecting himself, and Dr. Rachel Scott's work on the vaccine. Niels states that he and her were the only ones that could make a vaccine so the Russians set out to capture Dr. Scott as well to make the vaccine and hold the world hostage.
Events of The Last ShipEdit
Niels is briefly seen after the Nathan James manages to cripple the Vyerni and make its escape. Admiral Ruskov visits Niels to brief him on the situation while Niels searches for a missing lab rat. Niels declines any help to clean up his lab as a result of the explosion and protests how Ruskov's men see him. After Niels finds the rat, he breathes on it, infecting it with the virus while Ruskov takes his leave. (“Dead Reckoning”)
After the ship is repaired, Ruskov visits Niels to reassure him that they will find Dr. Scott, while Niels tells him he is not optimistic given the fact he has failed to capture her several times already. When Ruskov asks what Dr. Scott would need to make a vaccine, Niels replied she would need monkeys for test subjects and suggests looking in Puerto Rico. When Ruskov suggests somewhere farther away based on Chandler's instincts, Niels says Central America but can't be very specific on the location. (“SOS”)
Niels later hears over the bullhorn that Captain Tom Chandler and Tex Nolan have been captured. After Dr. Scott is brought on board, Niels introduces himself, mentions their past meeting, and reveals that he too is infected. Dr. Scott realizes that Niels essentially weaponized the virus and he explains everything he did and the unintentional consequences. When he asks for the primordial, Dr. Scott says it won't work now because of what he did, he made the virus more powerful as a result of his experiment and killed billions of people as a result. She goes on to say he could have come forward and saved more people as a result, but instead kept silent. Niels says now that she is here he can solve it and be a hero, until Dr. Scott reveals she has already created a vaccine. Niels refuses to believe she could have created it without his help and says she is lying. Dr. Scott leaves to speak with Ruskov with Niels screaming that she doesn't get to do it without him.
When Ruskov returns he is furious with Niels, but he states that he didn't lie and Dr. Scott's vaccine is faulty and won't work. To test this, Ruskov forces Lt. Dimitri to take Dr. Scott's vaccine and shoves him into Niels' bubble lab where Niels breathes on him, infecting him. While waiting for the results, Niels continues taunting Dr. Scott that her vaccine won't work and Dimitri will die as a result. When Chandler and Tex escape, Lt. Nikolai arrives to take Dr. Scott to Ruskov but Scott says she need to administer a second shot to Dimitri. Niels realizes she is lying but helps sell the lie and Dr. Scott grabs a gun killing Nikolai and turns the gun on Niels. Niels threatens her with the fact everyone on the ship if she pierces the plastic and even try to use the fact he helped her to bargain for his life. The VSSB team arrives to rescue Dr. Scott and Niels is left alive in his plastic bubble. After the Vyerni is blown up by the Nathan James crew and most of the Russians are killed, Niels manages to sneak off the ship dressed as a Russian sailor and gets on a Zodiac before the ship sinks. (“Two Sailors Walk Into a Bar”)
Niels manages to reach shore in Biscayne, Florida and is taken in by a community of healthy survivors but they all died within days of his arrival. He then loots their bodies and supplies before leaving and moves from camp to camp taking supplies on the move. He eventually sets up camp with another group of survivors in Port Lucie who he eventually discover are naturally immune to the virus. They eventually discover he is immune as well and invite him to their main camp where Niels listens to Kevin MacDowell preach about how they were "Chosen" to inherit the Earth. When McDowell hears about a navy ship carrying a cure and the scientists to make it, Niels tells them it is real and asks McDowell and his number #2, Curtis, what they plan to do about it. (“It's Not a Rumor”)
Niels is later taken on boat with them to open water where Niels tells them that a hospital ship, Solace, would probably be out at sea waiting for the cure and would have the locations of the labs able to reproduce the cure. While they wait he learns the Immunes encountered the Nathan James and Niels tells them they are the ones with the cure and asks if they captured them. He then realizes the Immunes think he set them up, but he reassures them that he lost contact with that ship in Jamaica. McDowel tells him to shut up and to save it for the boss, who is on a submarine called the Achilles that rises to the surface in front of Niels. (“Solace”)
Niels later got onto the sub where he is introduced to the leader of the Immunes: Sean Ramsey. Ramsey tells his story of how he got the sub they are in and how he has come to believe it was by design. Sean's brother, Ned, pulls a gun on Niels to kill him for his "betrayal", but Sean saves him by having Niels sort through the documents they stole off the hospital ship to get the information they need. Niels then tells them everything he knows about the ship, his history with it, Dr. Scott and its Captain, Chandler. Niels is taken to a room where he starts shifting through the documents the Immunes took from the Solace. Sean comes by to check on his progress and Niels comments on how his men ran before they got what they need and the US Navy is seriously preparing to deliver the cure. Sean reveals that to stop them Sean is going to sink the Nathan James and when they load Dr. Scott on a life boat they will capture and kill her along with their man aboard who has information they need. The Immunes fail to sink the ship as Niels looks for something and eventually finds the location of one of the lab as well as someone who will have all the locations: Dr. Julius Hunter. After Sean contacts a team on land to hunt and kill everyone at Hunter's location they steal the locations of all the labs and send it to the sub. After all the labs are destroyed by the missiles launched from the Achilles, Niels celebrates and praises Sean for listening to him and the result having too many victories to count. (“Achilles”)
Niels later goes with the Ramseys to Florida where Sean sends him into a quarantine zone in a shopping mall to spread the virus and find more Immunes. Once he is done, Niels meets up with the brothers, tells them of his meetings there and that most will be dead soon, save a few Immunes. He later witnesses the two brothers arguing and Sean pulling a knife on Ned, but the two laugh it off. Niels then goes to an auditorium where he listens to Sean preach and tells Ned he found three hundred and twenty people who were immune to the virus and creeps Ned out. (“Long Day's Journey”)
While there, Niels develops a new weapon to help find more Immunes, starting by filling pouches with gel that has the virus. Ned then escorts him to a convoy where they drive to a small area filled with survivors. Niels then reveals that he is going to insert these gel filled containers into teddy bears and give them to children and when they squeeze it they will get the virus. Niels hands Ned the bear who refuses to do Niels' dirty work, but Niels says he can't because it's not a controlled experiment if he gives them the bear because he could accidentally infect the children instead. As a compromise he has a volunteer give the bear to the children. While they are waiting, Niels recognizes Tex from the Vyerni and confronts him. Tex blackmails him into staying silent by threatening to tell everyone his status as "Patient Zero". After Danny kills his two escorts, Tex uses Niels as a human shield who then reveals they are from the Nathan James. In the confusion, Niels is shot by mistake in the process by Ned and Tex kidnaps him while they make their escape. He is then extracted to the Nathan James with the rest of the infiltration group from the ship and President Mischener. (“Alone and Unafraid”)
He is given blood transfusions to replace the blood he lost from the gunshot wound and wakes up a few days later onboard the Nathan James. He tells Chandler about how he escaped Ruskov's ship and movements up to meeting the Ramseys and makes a request: he wants to speak to Dr. Scott. She visits him in the medical bay where he officially congratulates her on creating a cure and she compliments him on his introducing his DNA into the virus. Dr. Scott then invites him to look at her research to help make a powder version of the cure. Dr. Scott then subtly guides Niels to freshwater mussels as a potential solution. When Dr. Scott asks about the stabilizer Niels used to put his DNA into the virus, Niels deflects taunting Scott how she always has to be the smartest person in the room. She keeps pressuring him for an answer, but Niels claims he doesn't remember what he used. Dr. Scott reveals her real plan is to make the cure contagious as Niels did with the virus and to do that, she is going to separate his gene from the virus inside him using DNA scissors, killing him. Niels says he won't let her, until she reveals she already introduced it to him using his IV bag and Niels dies with his last words being "I helped you." (“Uneasy Lies the Head”)
Niels' body is dissected by Dr. Scott who then has it burned and dumped overboard as medical waste after she gets the answers she needs from his body. (“Friendly Fire”)
Niels is arguably the main villain of the entire Last Ship franchise as his actions caused the outbreak. While he didn't create the Red Flu, he modified it, accidentally making it more deadly and killed five billion people while he was alive and millions more post-mortem. He personally infected thousands, including his fiancé Maja, Dimitri, numerous survivor camps, and a safe zone in a mall. In addition he warned the Immunes that the US Navy had successfully developed a cure and directed them to the Solace which lead to the death of fourteen members of the crew, including the ship's master and Chief Mate Gonzales. He also directed the Ramseys to Dr. Julius Hunter who was executed along with his staff for the locations of the labs across the world. As a result of Niels directing the Ramseys, the Immunes raided and destroyed the labs in Lisbon, Spain and Istanbul, Turkey while the Ramseys' submarine launched missiles at the labs in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Madison, Topeka, and Baltimore, destroying them and killing hundreds more.