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Simon Keyes
But aren't prosecutors crazy scary or something? Always giving you a death glare!

Simon Keyes was an employee of the Berry Big Circus who was accused of murdering Horace Knightley. Despite appearing to be a very shy and meek individual, he was actually a deeply calculating, cruel, and bitter man who manipulated others in his quest for revenge.

Early life

Father's taste tester

Main article: The Inherited Turnabout

Gustavia and Dover with their sons.

The man who would be known as Simon Keyes was the son of the pastry chef Dane Gustavia. When he was a small boy, he made a friend at school, whose father was Isaac Dover, also known as Pierre Hoquet. In December 2000, the fathers collaborated in a dessert-making contest run by the famous television chef Jeffrey Master. Dover, being a sculptor by trade, lacked skill at making his desserts taste good but was able to create impressive designs, while Gustavia was the opposite, so they worked together to cover each other's faults. Additionally, since his father began to suffer from ageusia, he would help Gustavia by tasting his creations for him, though everyone else believed that he was just there to watch.


Help from an unexpected source.

On the last day of the contest, Dover decided to betray Gustavia by making his own son stop Gustavia's son from trying to help his father. Dover's son, while crying and begging for forgiveness, bound his best friend's wrists and legs and went into Dover's car with him. However, in the freezing cold of winter, the car door soon froze over, making both of them unable to escape.

With neither of their parents showing up to pick them up, the two boys stayed trapped in the freezing car for hours, and would have eventually died, had it not been for the chance arrival of Sirhan Dogen, a blind professional assassin who just happened to be passing by at the time with his dog Anubis, who noticed the pair. Dogen saved the boys and took them to the Happy Family Home orphanage, as the trauma caused by their near-death experience left them unable to recall much from before their rescue. Meanwhile, back at the dessert-making contest, Gustavia had killed Dover in a rage, and had then fled the country, choosing to completely abandon the search for his son; with neither child having a relative to identify them, the two boys eventually went by the names Simon Keyes and Horace Knightley.

Terror at the orphanage

Main article: SS-5 Incident

The Happy Family Home orphanage.

Keyes would meet Dogen by coincidence again seven years later, when the assassin was given the job of killing President Di-Jun Wang of Zheng Fa at the orphanage. Keyes watched Dogen and his victim as Wang played a recording from a doll of Moozilla and begged his killer for the chance to meet the son he had never met, John Marsh, but was refused this request. The subsequent attack caused a horn to be dislodged from the doll, which was needed in order to play back the recording. Dogen's employers - a body double of Di-Jun Wang, the orphanage's director Patricia Roland, and Chief Prosecutor Blaise Debeste - then planned to betray and kill the assassin, but Keyes heard their conversation and sought to repay Dogen for previously saving his own life. The boy did so by setting a fire in front of the orphanage to distract the traitors so that the assassin could escape. In the following years, the two stayed in touch with one another, forming a father/son-like relationship, with Keyes determined not to become "a weak person who could get murdered."


Keyes' drawing.

The three co-conspirators succeeded in replacing Wang with the body double and making the whole affair look like a kidnapping, with the sole known witness, Jack Cameron, having been murdered by the body double. Keyes knew the truth, retrieved the horn of the doll, and drew a picture of the scene just moments before Wang's death. Keyes then tried to ask help from the police by showing his drawing to detective Dai-Long Lang during his investigation of what became known as the SS-5 Incident. While Lang, knowing how the truth that their president was a fake would impact his home country of Zheng Fa, chose to hide it, he nonetheless attempted to arrest Roland for Cameron's murder; however, through Debeste's manipulations, Roland was eventually acquitted.

Afterward, Roland subjected Keyes to constant interrogations. At night, the boy would call out for his father, wondering why he never came to save him. Eventually, he ran away from the orphanage, leaving the horn behind, but was forced to hide from Debeste's henchmen in the years following Wang's assassination. Unable to have the police help him because they were under Debeste's control, Keyes grew incredibly resentful and lost all trust in other people, especially the police force and the judicial body, feeling he had no other option but to take matters into his own hands. He eventually joined the Berry Big Circus as a clown and trainee animal trainer under Regina Berry, masking his true personality under a meek façade.

At some point, Keyes remembered the day that he had been tied up and locked in the car, but his memory was still muddled, coming to believe that Dover was his own father while Gustavia was Knightley's. Furthermore, he believed that Gustavia was the one who had betrayed Dover, as well as being the one who had killed "his" father. As such, he began to foster a secret desire to take revenge on Knightley, even while the two kept in touch, thinking that if Knightley hadn't stopped him and tied him up, "his" father wouldn't have been killed. He also plotted revenge against the three co-conspirators from the SS-5 Incident, though with the sheer amount of authority that all of them had, Keyes had to wait for a perfect opportunity to exact his vengeance.

Masterminding the game

Knightley and the body double

Main article: Turnabout Target
Simon Keyes
Whoa! Don't try to pin that on me. Knightley killed him all on his own. Well, it ended up creating the perfect opportunity for me... It's funny how things work out!

Keyes as an adult.

In March 2019, the body double came to the United States to give a speech to thank the prosecutor's office for ridding Zheng Fa of the Cohdopian smuggling ring. Keyes saw his chance to eliminate one of the conspirators, as well as to set in motion the events that would allow him to get his revenge upon Knightley, who, coincidentally, was working as one of the president's bodyguards. He subtly suggested to his friend Knightley that he should work with "Wang" to stage an assassination attempt in order to boost the president's abysmal ratings back in Zheng Fa, while Knightley would become a hero out of the situation. By that point, the Berry Big Circus had begun regularly performing at a prison where Roland had become warden. Through this, Keyes saw an opportunity to get rid of both Roland and Knightley, as he knew that Knightley would likely end up arrested if the fake assassination plot turned real. So Keyes also secretly hired an infamous assassin called Shelly de Killer to do the deed for real; however, he did not reveal to him that the target was an imposter, which would later earn de Killer's enmity towards him.

Two days before the speech, de Killer infiltrated the president's bodyguards to fulfill his contract. He attacked Knightley, injuring the bodyguard's neck in the process, but he soon found himself overpowered by the head bodyguard, Ethan Rooke, and forced to escape. The security plans were changed so that only Rooke and Knightley were in the immediate vicinity of the stage, as well as to account for Knightley's neck injury so that he could still pull off "his" plan.

After the speech and fake assassination attempt occurred, with Knightley selfishly taking the opportunity to murder Rooke in the ensuing chaos due to his jealousy towards him, de Killer found another opportunity to try to kill the "president". He took Knightley hostage and forced him to let him and prosecutor Miles Edgeworth inside the president's plane. However, de Killer was unable to get "Wang" to leave his room, where he was safely locked, even after threatening Knightley's life. This was when the assassin realized that he had intentionally been given a false target (as the real Wang would have never acted so cowardly) and abandoned his contract, fleeing the premises. However, Keyes's scheme still proceeded as planned, as Edgeworth not only eventually figured out Knightley's fake assasination plan, but also discovered that he was the culprit behind the death of Rooke, and had him arrested, just as Keyes hoped.

Saved by Edgeworth

Main article: The Imprisoned Turnabout
Simon Keyes
But then, a turnabout of miraculous proportions! The genius prosecutor himself had come to my rescue! Well, doesn't it feel nice to be thanked by me, the one that you saved?
CCC friendlytalk

Talking to Knightley.

Since some time beforehand, Keyes had kept in touch with both Dogen and Knightley by playing correspondence chess matches with them. At some point, he began secretly having them play against each other, with each believing that they were playing against Keyes himself. For this purpose, Keyes would receive each of their letters and transcribe them into either English or braille before sending it to the unwitting opponent.

Keyes used this to complete his plan to have Roland kill Knightley as, by the time of Knightley's arrest, Dogen had already been arrested and sent to Roland's prison. The assassin's knowledge of John Marsh, which would blow the body double's cover, had allowed him to start blackmailing Roland and thusly obtain constant preferential treatments. Furthermore, the warden had also become increasingly paranoid due to his claim that he had outside agents who would try to kill her at any moment.

Keyes executed the next phase of his plan; he visited Knightley, who had been transferred to the detention center next to the prison to await his trial, and gave him a folding chessboard containing a hidden chisel. Roland soon interrogated Knightley, believing that he was one of Dogen's cronies due to the correspondence chess letters, and opened the chessboard, finding the chisel. Since Dogen had obtained chisels through his blackmailing of the prison warden, this caused Roland's paranoia to reach a breaking point, stabbing Knightley with Dogen's knife in the neck, and killing him instantly.

Unfortunately for Keyes, Blaise Debeste, who had by now become the chair of the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee (P.I.C.), had his son Eustace and fellow committee member Verity Gavèlle take over the case from Edgeworth. They indicted Keyes for the murder, seeing as how he was apparently the only one with the opportunity to commit the deed due to having access to the prison as a performer for the Berry Big Circus. Despite this turn of events, Eddie Fender became Keyes's lawyer, and Keyes also managed to convince Edgeworth to try to save him from this false charge. Edgeworth temporarily became Fender's assistant, allowing him to eventually convince Eustace and Gavèlle to have Roland indicted as the true culprit, with Keyes's own behind the scenes role in the murder still remaining completely undiscovered.

Abduction and murder

Main articles: The Forgotten Turnabout & The Grand Turnabout
Simon Keyes
Truth be told, all I did was send some letters. I let Jill in on Blaise's secrets, and let Blaise in on Jill's secrets. And then, the two simply ended up trying to kill each other.
Sota Coat

Just before abducting Faraday.

In addition to the above plots, Keyes was also working to bring down Blaise Debeste. He anonymously communicated with both Jill Crane, Cameron's former girlfriend, and Blaise, telling each about the other's secrets. Via this method he was able to convince Crane to take revenge on Blaise on April 4, 2019, while at the same time warning Blaise that Crane was going to kill him. This ensured that one of them would kill the other.

If Blaise succeeded in killing Crane, he had to be caught. To ensure that Edgeworth would take the case, Keyes decided to have one of the prosecutor's assistants, Kay Faraday, framed for the murder that was about to happen. He anonymously invited her to Gourd Lake, whereupon he drugged her with a powerful sleeping drug and planted a bug inside her Yatagarasu's Badge, which could be turned on or off remotely. Via a hot air balloon used for advertising the Berry Big Circus, Keyes flew Faraday to the roof of the Grand Tower, the building where the P.I.C. was based. To Keyes's surprise, the body double was at the top of the tower, conversing with Gavèlle. The fake president told Gavèlle to leave and then fired at the balloon after she had done so, hitting the underside. Keyes responded by landing the balloon on top of the man, crushing him to death.


The body double's final moments.

Keyes was now left with a very serious problem as, while the body double's death was welcomed, this murder would distract attention from the other murder case he had set up. He took the imposter's gun and decided to hide the body inside a refrigerated warehouse that had been contracted out to the Berry Big Circus for storing the animals' food in order to throw off the time of death. The following night, Keyes looked for a place to dump the body, and came across a temporary film lot beside the Grand Tower. There, he discovered that John Marsh, who had become a child actor, had accidentally started a fire, causing a large Moozilla head prop to fall. Keyes took this opportunity to plant the body in the film lot to frame Marsh for the murder.

Crane's body was soon discovered and Keyes's "pawns" once again acted just as he knew they would. Keyes was able to follow the entire investigation to make sure that Edgeworth would triumph over Blaise, and he saw Edgeworth resign as a prosecutor. The day after Keyes dumped the body double's corpse inside the film lot, Edgeworth appeared before the P.I.C. and succeeded in having Blaise indicted for the murder, with the help of his allies (including the unexpected aid of Gavèlle). It was shortly after this that Penny Nichols and Shi-Long Lang discovered the body double's corpse and Edgeworth was thrust into yet another murder investigation.


Main article: The Grand Turnabout
Simon Keyes
Hm. So, it's come to this after all. You were always so full of confidence, Mr. Edgeworth. But, I rather like that, because now... I can rip that confidence to shreds.

April 6 also happened to be the date of Roland's trial for the murder of Horace Knightley. Knowing that Roland and Blaise would continue to try to corrupt the process and that the presiding judge for the case was Gavèlle, Marsh's adoptive mother, Keyes decided to ensure a guilty verdict by kidnapping Marsh and blackmailing the judge. Keyes drugged Marsh at the Grand Tower's waste disposal site and placed him in a box so that he would be taken to a garbage dump. Keyes then reclaimed the box from the dump and took it to the warehouse where he had stored the body double.

By the time Keyes made it to the District Court with Berry, however, he discovered that Blaise had also apparently kidnapped "Marsh" and was blackmailing Gavèlle into ensuring a not guilty verdict. Edgeworth, Faraday, Keyes, and Berry agreed to look for Marsh, and the latter two went to the Sunshine Coliseum while Edgeworth and Faraday stayed outside the Grand Tower to investigate. Edgeworth came across the freelance journalist Nicole Swift, who had seen where the kidnappers had gone. Keyes considered the fact that Swift knew about the kidnapping, and quickly realized that Swift was unwittingly intercepting the bug that Keyes had planted in Kay's Yatagarasu's badge.

Edgeworth went on to find that Blaise's henchmen had actually kidnapped the wrong person, instead having captured Eustace, who was supposed to prosecute Roland's trial. Keyes later called Edgeworth to taunt him, using a voice-changer to mask his voice, and turning off the bug so that the call would not be intercepted by Swift. Edgeworth deduced from background noise in the call that the caller had been near Sunshine Coliseum, and this helped Faraday and Dick Gumshoe find Marsh while Eustace went to prosecute Roland's trial and confront his father. Through this trial, Roland's guilty verdict became all but certain, only delayed so that all of the evidence could be recovered from the dump, and even Blaise's authority over the SS-5 Incident case files was revoked, allowing Edgeworth to solve the case once and for all.


Simon Keyes drops his façade.

However, now armed with the truth behind the SS-5 Incident, Edgeworth went on to deduce Keyes's various manipulations and confronted the man. Keyes repeatedly foiled Edgeworth using all of the precautions that he had taken, and claimed that he had told Marsh about the body double to make him exact his own revenge against the man. However, traces of lion lily pollen on the bottom of the balloon proved that he had murdered the body double, thus unraveling the entire web of manipulations. Keyes made to use the gun that he had stolen to attempt an escape, but de Killer appeared, determined to kill Keyes for lying to him about who the president was. Luckily for Keyes, Dogen suddenly appeared and asked de Killer to spare Keyes's life, with de Killer agreeing to call off his vendetta out of respect for his fellow assassin, leaving once again while pursued by Shi-Long Lang. Just then, however, Marsh, recognizing Dogen as the one who took his father away from him, confronted him, with the blind assassin deciding to offer the child an opportunity to avenge himself by passing him a knife, being willing to submit to a fatal stab without defending himself. During the exchange, Keyes tried to convince Marsh to take said revenge, but upon seeing what its pursuit had done to Keyes, and realizing just how much it would hurt his loved ones, Marsh decided instead to give up on it. The manipulative Keyes was then arrested for his crimes by the police, still overall satisfied that his revenge had been fulfilled, and happy to share a "home" of sorts with Dogen.

The story of Simon Keyes left a profund impact on Miles Edgeworth; realizing that Keyes could have turned out differently had someone he could've trusted been there for him, Edgeworth resolved to save other people like him before it was too late for them as a prosecutor, by fighting the contradictions in the law and ensuring that it would be on the people's side, instead of being abused for personal gain.


Eddie Fender
Now, now, Kay. The person he's talking about now isn't Miles, but rather, Simon himself. Clearly, he is not able to trust others. The desire to save someone other than himself is something he cannot even comprehend...

"Harmless" persona.


True self.

Keyes put on the appearance of a shy and meek man who would faint when Edgeworth glared at him. He would often cover his eyes, ears, or mouth and acted as if he was an honest, if rather simple, person who missed his friend Knightley. Adding to his seemingly harmless appearance was his trick of occasionally having Money, the circus monkey, "control" his facial expressions and arms using Keyes' hair, like a puppet.

However, this was all a façade to hide the sort of person he truly was: a confident, manipulative, unpredictable, and scheming individual who was quick to mock and condescend others. He trusted no one, and felt that the legal system was too corrupt and incompetent to help him. Keyes would find and exploit what he perceived as emotional weaknesses in others to get them to do what he wanted. This was helped by his meek persona being extremely convincing, able to hide his true self from his co-workers, the highly inquisitive Edgeworth, and even his longtime childhood friend Knightley, who had apparently never figured out Keyes's real feelings toward him. This manipulation even extended to the circus animals; Keyes posed as an animal tamer who could not tame animals, but in reality, he could get them to adjust his appearance and even form a makeshift armrest. Keyes was also particularly prone to bouts of maniacal laughter upon dropping his "harmless" persona.

Due to being alone and on the run for so long, Keyes could not understand that other people did not always have ulterior motives, and saw them as complicit in the corruption that they supposedly worked to fight against, seeing no difference between Edgeworth and Blaise. Because of this, he had absolutely no qualms about any innocent parties who got hurt by his revenge schemes. He was a deeply resentful and unforgiving individual who could hold a murderous grudge for years, even against his supposed best friend Knightley. He also missed no opportunity to get under the skin of others with his accusations about their motives, going so far as to mimic Edgeworth's voice to mock him. When he found out that Gustavia was his father, he grew to resent him, and was upset that they shared so many similarities. As a child, he would love eating his father's desserts, but grew to hate anything sweet after those traumatic events.

Keyes' situation has many parallels with several other people, including Katherine Hall, Shi-Long Lang, Franziska von Karma, Eustace Winner, John Marsh, Kay Faraday, and Miles Edgeworth; all felt the despair of losing their father figures and all grappled with the notion of either avenging their father figures or seeking revenge against them. Each of them had someone to help them and show them another way, but Keyes had no one. His obsession with revenge was a driving force behind Marsh choosing not to exact his own revenge on Dogen. After Keyes's arrest, Edgeworth resolved to save people like him as a prosecutor, by fighting the contradictions in the law and ensuring that it would be on the people's side, instead of being abused for personal gain.


  • Japanese - Sōta Sarushiro (猿代草太):
    • His Japanese surname contains the kanji 猿 ("saru"), which means "monkey". Not only does he have a close relationship with Money the monkey, but, combined with his meek persona's habit of covering his eyes, ears, and mouth, this is a reference to the Three Wise Monkeys. His name also serves as a subtle hint for Japanese players, as in Turnabout Target, Shelly de Killer referred to his client as "a curious person", but the word "curious" used again contained the kanji "saru"[1].
    • The "shiro" portion comes from the word "shiro" (代) meaning "substitution", and the given name comes from the word sōsa (操作) meaning "manipulation". These reference the fact that Keyes is a monkey tamer, but the monkey ironically gets on his head and controls him like a puppet.[2]
  • English (Unofficial) - Simon Keyes:
    • His English name in the unofficial fan translation patch of Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Prosecutor's Gambit is "Simon Keyes", which is a play on "shy monkeys". This is referenced by Eddie Fender at one point when he unintentionally refers to him as "Shy Monkees" after almost forgetting his name. His given name could also be a reference to the children's game "Simon Says", a game in which one person makes others do as they say, much like Keyes' own ability to manipulate people. Finally, Simon's last name "Keyes" is a recreation of Shelly de Killer's hint in Turnabout Target, where his client is described as a "key individual"[1].
  • French (Unofficial) - Louie Stiti:
    • In the unofficial French fan translation of this game, his name is "Louie Stiti", which is a play on "L'ouistiti", meaning "the marmoset" in French, which is a type of monkey.
  • Brazilian Portuguese (Unofficial) - Nico Rioso:
    • In the upcoming unofficial Brazilian Portuguese fan translation of Prosecutor's Gambit, his name has been changed to "Nico Rioso". "Nico" is the shortened form of "Nicolau", which itself is derived from the Greek name "nikólaos", which can be translated as "conqueror of people", fitting with his manipulative personality. Furthermore, his full name, when put together, bears a resemblance to "vitorioso", which translates to "victorious". Lastly, combining the last syllable of his given name with his surname ("Nico Rioso") forms a pun on the word "curioso", the Brazilian Portuguese word for "curious".



  • The Family Photo depicts Keyes as a child in full color. Here, his hair is short and black, while as an adult, he has long red hair usually tied in small pigtails by yellow hair ties. His school uniform consists of a blue suit and tie.
  • As an adult, he usually wears a pink hoodie, rolled up jeans, and pink shoes. The design on his shirt is that of Global Hero Onyankopon, who had previously appeared in Farewell, My Turnabout as a background character during that episode's introductory cutscene of the Hero of Heroes Grand Prix. Interestingly, Blaise Debeste wears the mask of the series' villain (Zurvan, Ruler of Time) as a disguise during the black market auction.
  • His circus attire consists of a pink and purple striped shirt with a ruffled collar and pompoms, curled pink shoes, and purple pants. He wears white face paint with pink teardrops.


  • Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Prosecutor's Gambit contains several characters that have the presence of a final boss, such as the two assassins and most of the other culprits, to help hide the role that Simon Keyes would play as the real final boss. Other aspects of the character, such as his meek persona being similar to Larry Butz, and the fact that he is a suspect saved by Edgeworth, serve the same purpose. The former was apparently Tatsuro Iwamoto's idea while the latter was Takeshi Yamazaki's.[3]
  • The staff had trouble with his breakdown sequence. They had to do some special processing techniques to get everything they wanted on the screen. The squirrels were controlled separately from the dialogue.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Explained by BigKlingy, a member of the translation's development team, in a comment found on Part 71 of NintendoCapriSun's playthrough.
  2. Ash (2016-08-01). "Portraying Mitsurugi Reiji's Conflict and Various Parents & Children (2011)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ash (2017-04-16). "15th Anniversary Gyakuten Saiban Special Talk Session: Yamazaki Takeshi X Iwamoto Tatsurō (2017)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-11-11.