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The First Turnabout
Transcript Transcript (JP)

Mia Fey
Well, I have to say Phoenix, I'm impressed! Not everyone takes on a murder trial right off the bat like this. It says a lot about you... and your client as well.

Episode 1: The First Turnabout is the first episode of the game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. In Phoenix Wright's first trial as a defense attorney he must defend his childhood friend Larry Butz, who has been accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Cindy Stone. Phoenix Wright, Mia Fey, Larry Butz, Winston Payne, Frank Sahwit, and the most frequently appearing judge all make their debuts in this episode.

Even among all of the introductory "tutorial" episodes in the Ace Attorney games, The First Turnabout is relatively simplistic. This episode is the shortest in the series, consisting of a single trial chapter. Additionally, although the player has the ability to press witness statements, this functionality is not formally introduced until the following episode, and thus is not strictly necessary to progress in this episode.


Sahwit examines his handiwork in shock.

A small statue of "The Thinker" dripped with blood, while a young woman lay dead on the wooden floor with her blood pooling around her head. The man standing over her began to panic, not wanting to get imprisoned for murder. Suddenly, the man smirked as he remembered seeing someone leaving earlier, and decided to pin the murder on him.


9:47 a.m.

Phoenix Wright was nervous at the prospect of being in court as a defense attorney for the first time, especially since his first trial was a murder case, but his mentor, Mia Fey, soon appeared to give him some moral support, along with a copy of the victim's autopsy report. Wright explained to Fey that he owed his client a favor, since he was part of the reason Wright had become a lawyer in the first place. Right on cue, Wright heard and then saw a panic-stricken Larry Butz, his best friend since grade school and now his first client. Wright tried to calm his friend's nerves, but Butz seemed to be more concerned about a life without Cindy Stone, who was the victim and had been his girlfriend, than his own verdict.

10:00 a.m.

In the courtroom itself, both Prosecutor Winston Payne and Wright addressed the presiding judge, who tested the rookie attorney on the basic details of the case to determine whether he was ready to defend his client. The judge asked Payne to submit the murder weapon into evidence: a small statue of The Thinker. Butz then took the stand. Payne told him Stone had dumped him, which Butz angrily denied, believing that he and the victim had been destined to be together, though he did admit that she had not been answering his phone calls or want to see him.

Payne, looking to agitate Butz into incriminating himself with a motive, revealed that Stone had returned overseas with one of "them". He presented Stone's passport to the court, explaining that she had been in Paris until the day of the murder. He further disclosed that she had maintained relationships with several "sugar daddies" who gave her money and gifts to support her lifestyle. Payne's plan worked, with Butz calling Stone "a cheatin' she-dog" and saying that he would get to the bottom of it when he met her in the afterlife.

Butz leaving Stone's house, with Sahwit lying in wait.

The prosecution then called Frank Sahwit, a sycophantic newspaper salesman, to the stand. Sahwit testified that he had seen Butz quickly leaving Stone's apartment at 1:00 p.m. Suspicious, he went to investigate, only to find Stone's dead body. He subsequently left to find a public payphone in order to contact the police. The judge asked why Sahwit had not simply used the victim's phone, but Payne explained that there was a five-hour blackout at the time that prevented him from doing so.

The scene as testified by Sahwit.

In the subsequent cross-examination, Wright pointed out that the autopsy report placed the time of death at 4:00 p.m., so it would have been impossible for Sahwit to have found Stone dead at 1:00 p.m. Although Payne objected, claiming that Sahwit must have simply forgotten the time, the judge doubted this; Sahwit had been very sure of the time in his testimony, and so the judge asked him why this was.

Sahwit claimed that he heard the time from the T.V., and that the victim must have been watching a taped program at the time of her death, but Wright pointed out that the blackout would have made it impossible for him to do so. Sahwit then claimed that he saw the time on a clock in Stone's apartment, which was also the murder weapon. Wright objected again; the murder weapon that had been accepted into evidence earlier was a statue, not a clock.

However, Payne revealed that The Thinker statue did indeed double as a clock; by tilting it, it spoke the time. However, Wright refused to back down; there was no way Sahwit could have known about the clock function without having held it in his own hand, yet he had claimed to have not entered the apartment upon finding Stone's body. Wright stated that Sahwit assumed the time to be 1:00 p.m. because he was the real killer. As he killed Stone, the clock announced the time, leaving a strong impression on him.

Sahwit, infuriated at Wright's ruining of his testimony, began to breakdown on the stand, discarding his sycophantic demeanor and angrily throwing his toupee at Wright's face. The enraged witness asserted that Wright had no evidence to back up his claims, to which he responded by having the clock sounded in court; the time it announced was three hours behind the current time, which was the exact same discrepancy that was in Sahwit's testimony. However, Sahwit asserted that this was meaningless without proof that the clock was running three hours slow on the actual day of the murder. Although Wright briefly panicked at what seemed an impossible thing to prove, with some assistance from Fey he realized that he already had what he needed and presented his final evidence: Stone's passport from her trip to Paris. Rather than three hours behind, the clock was in fact nine hours ahead at Paris local time; Stone had taken the clock with her on her trip and had neglected to reset the time upon her return. Sahwit, finally defeated, hyperventilated on the stand, foamed at the mouth and collapsed. He was soon arrested and Butz was cleared of all charges.

The victim walking in on Sahwit.

It was revealed that Sahwit was actually a common burglar who masked his trade by posing as a newspaper salesman to learn when residents left their homes, and had planned to rob Stone's apartment while she was on her trip to Paris. When he arrived, he saw Butz leaving the apartment and decided to steal the valuables quickly before anyone returned. However, Stone happened to return just then and caught him in her apartment. Sahwit panicked and struck her over the head with the nearest item he could find, The Thinker clock, killing her. The clock's voice rang out "I think it's 1 o'clock", and Stone died from the head trauma.


2:32 p.m.

After the trial, Fey congratulated Wright on his win. Butz interrupted in hysterics again, this time believing that Stone had not cared about him at all. Wright then presented The Thinker clock to him; she would not have carried such a bulky clock around unless it had some significance. Butz gave Fey another Thinker clock; he had made two as a memento of his and Stone's relationship. Fey then offered Wright dinner to celebrate Butz's acquittal. She also told Wright to tell her the story about how Butz had influenced his decision to become a lawyer over drinks sometime. Butz then slapped Wright on the back and told him: "Gee, Nick, it's good to have friends!", but the defense attorney had the feeling that he was not going to get paid, unless the clock he had given Fey counted.

Wright was unaware of it then, but the clock given to Fey would soon be at the center of another incident, and his promise to tell Fey about Butz and himself would be one he would be unable to keep.


Turnabout Sisters was the first case in early drafts of Gyakuten Saiban. However, major changes in character designs and roles, notably of the mentor, the assistant, and prosecutors Winston Payne and Miles Edgeworth, called for drastic changes to that case, and so another case was placed before Turnabout Sisters as the first case, which became The First Turnabout.

Cultural references[]

  • When describing his relationship to the victim, Butz states that they were like Romeo and Juliet, or Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, to which Wright thinks, "Didn't they all die?" Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra are both tragedies written by the playwright William Shakespeare.
  • When asked for evidence to prove why the clock was running slow, if anything other than Stone's passport is presented, the judge will challenge Wright, who then thinks: "D'oh! That wasn't it!" "D'oh!" is a catchphrase often used by the fictional character Homer Simpson in the long-running American animated sitcom The Simpsons, normally when something's gone wrong for him.
  • When Fey questions Butz's belief that Stone didn't care about him, he says "Ex-squeeze me", instead of "excuse me". "Exsqueeze me" and "baking powder" are used as substitutes for "excuse me" and "beg your pardon", respectively, by the fictional character Wayne Campbell in the Wayne's World films.


  • One of the questions that the judge asks at the beginning of the trial is what the victim's name is. When Fey realizes that Wright has temporarily forgotten the victim's name, she says, "Look, the defendant's name is listed in the Court Record" (instead of "Look, the victim's name is listed in the Court Record"). This was corrected for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.


  • This episode places the setting of the English localization of the Ace Attorney series in the Pacific Time Zone, which is nine hours behind the Central European Time Zone, which contains Paris, France. Official sources outside of the games (and two from the games themselves) place the setting specifically in Los Angeles, California.
    • With Japan being in a single time zone, the main setting of the original Japanese version of the games is unclear, aside from that it is somewhere in Japan. Mika Takabi (Cindy Stone) instead travels to New York in the Japanese version, and The Thinker clock is 14 hours behind due to being set to Eastern Standard Time. This is actually an error on the part of the developers, as New York practices daylight saving time like most of the United States, and thus it should be 13 hours slow in August.
    • In the unofficial Brazilian Portuguese fan localization[1], the setting is changed to São Paulo, a Brazilian city with a sizeable Japanese community; in order to keep the time difference contradiction at the center of the episode, the clock is eight and a half hours ahead as the victim traveled to Mumbai, India.
  • This case is one of only a few in the entire series in which the killer is clearly shown in the introductory cutscene actually committing the crime (with the others being Turnabout Sisters, Turnabout Visitor, The Monstrous Turnabout, and The Foreign Turnabout).
  • This is one of only three cases in which only one witness is cross-examined, with the others being Turnabout Visitor and the non-canonical Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney.
  • After Sahwit hyperventilates and collapses, the judge asks Payne about Sahwit's condition. When he does so, the judge refers to him as Payne's "client", which would actually be correct terminology when referring to an attorney's witness. However, this was changed to Payne's "witness" for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, presumably due to the likelihood of a player erroneously considering it a mistake.

Other languages[]

  • Japanese - 初めての逆転 (Hajimete no Gyakuten; lit. "Turnabout for the First Time")
  • Chinese - 第一次的逆轉 (Dìyīcì ·de Nìzhuǎn; lit. "Turnabout for the First Time")
  • French - La première volte-face (lit. "The First Turnabout")
  • German - Der erste Wandel (lit. "The First Change")
  • Spanish - El primer caso (lit. "The First Case")
  • Italian - Banco di prova (lit. "Test Bench")
  • Korean - 첫 번째 역전 (Cheot Beonjjae Yeokjeon; lit. "The First Turnabout")
  • Portuguese - A Primeira Reviravolta (lit. "The First Turnabout")
  • Arabic- التّغيّر الأوّل (lit. "The First Change")


  1. Nossa tradução de Ace Attorney Jacutem Sabão. Retrieved on 2019-02-08.