Apollo's first case as a defense attorney. In a strange turn of events, Apollo must defend an all too familiar face in the murder of world traveler Shadi Smith.
Date: August April 20, 2025
The game opens with an image of someone painting in a dark room. A candle is blown out, and the screen goes black.
The scene then shifts to two men playing poker in a basement. Both men show their hands - two full houses. One man grabs a glass bottle and bashes the other over the head. A phone call is made.
It's Apollo's first day heading a case. Though his mentor (famous Defense Attorney Kristoph Gavin) is surprised that Apollo is taking on a murder case so soon, Apollo assures him that he'll be fine. In fact, he was up until 5am practicing his objection! Which is all well and good, but Kristoph wants to be sure that Apollo is ready, as their client is a close friend of his. They even shared dinner the night of the incident.
The pair meet with their client, who is none other than former defense attorney Phoenix Wright. Apollo asks why Phoenix didn't just have Kristoph defend him, being a much more accomplished lawyer than Apollo himself, but Phoenix only tells him "you'll understand eventually." Confused but still determined, Apollo heads into court.
For his first trial, Apollo is up against the Rookie Crusher himself, Winston Payne (sporting a fabulous new hairdo). Both he and the judge remark on Phoenix's fall from grace, which Phoenix kindly asks them not to bring up again. Payne outlines the case. The victim, Shadi Smith, was killed when he was hit in the forehead with a grape juice bottle. He and the defendant were in the basement of the Russian restaurant Borscht Bowl Club at the time, playing a game of poker. Though the Judge is momentarily stunned to hear they were gambling (which would be illegal) Kristoph assures him that it was a simple game with no money being used. "Only the blue cards know the outcome of the match" he says.
Phoenix testifies a bit more about the game. Though he's employed as a piano player, he doesn't actually play very often. His real job is playing poker in the basement. They use two decks, red and blue, to prevent cheating. Since he hasn't lost a single game in 7 years he has quite a reputation, and people come from all over to challenge him. The basement is the perfect setting, as it used to be meeting place for criminals.
At the end of the testimony the Judge asks Phoenix about the murder, but rather than responding he turns to the defense. Since his testimony was concerning the game, not the murder, shouldn't the defense be objecting to that? Apollo falters, but Kristoph steps in, and asks Phoenix to answer. "If you say so," Phoenix agrees. He amends his testimony to say that he refuses to talk about the crime, except that he did not touch the murder weapon.
Apollo presents the murder weapon. He hesitates to say why it's a contradiction, but Payne is all over it: the murder weapon clearly has Phoenix's fingerprints. Apollo gives a mighty objection (putting his practice to use so well the Judge scolds him for shouting). There's nothing strange about an employee's fingerprints being on a bottle they serve there. But Payne steps in again. The fingerprints are upside down - as they might be if he had used the bottle to hit someone. Apollo starts to panic, but Kristoph assures him everything's fine. "All that matters is the truth. There must be a reason behind it." He goes on to inform the court that it was Phoenix himself who called the incident in to the police that night. Since they were playing poker in the basement, Phoenix had to leave the scene and head upstairs to get a signal. There's a record of it on his cell phone, which is taken into evidence.
Kristoph then presumes the reason Payne is so certain Phoenix was at the scene at the time of the murder is that he has a witness. Payne confirms, and calls to the stand Olga Orly - a timid blonde woman in thick clothing. As a waitress as the restaurant her prime duty is serving customers Borscht, their signature dish, but she also provides other services, such as taking pictures. In fact, she has one of Phoenix and the victim together. Olga explains that the room the incident took place in is called "Narazumo's Room", as the infamous Narazumo Gang was caught there years ago. She was there the night of Shadi's murder. Since she was the only one there other than Phoenix, Apollo suspects her immediately.
Olga begins her testimony. She dealt the cards to the two men, who were both wearing hats because of the cold. Shadi was fingering a locket he had on at the time. But something awful happened after the last hand: Phoenix lost, and jumped up to try and strangle Shadi.
Apollo objects, saying there's no way that Phoenix could have lost. He's been undefeated for 7 years, after all. As proof of the match's outcome Payne presents a photograph of the table at the time the scene was discovered. By Phoenix's hand are four small chips and one big one. On Shadi's side are two small chips and nine big ones. Phoenix was clearly losing.
Back at Olga's testimony, Apollo objects to her claim that Shadi was strangled, as it contradicts the court record. Payne offers up another photo of the crime scene that was taken with Shadi's hat removed, showing a path of blood across the victim's bald head. The autopsy report was true: he was struck in the forehead. Apollo smirks over having found a flaw in Olga's testimony, but Kristoph is quick to correct him. There's still something off in her testimony.
Apollo discovers the extra flaw, and presents the photo Payne just produced: Shadi is not shown wearing a locket. It must have fallen off when Shadi was strangled, just like Olga said. The Judge asks Phoenix about it, and notices for the first time that he, too, is wearing a locket. Phoenix admits sure, it's a locket. It has a picture of his daughter inside. Though the court is startled to hear that Phoenix even has a daughter, Payne confirms that the police checked the photo when Phoenix was arrested. Though it seems a coincidence that both men had one, court moves on.
Olga testifies next about the poker game itself. She explains each of them started out with 3500 points in chips, made of two types (big and small). When Phoenix lost, he freaked out and grabbed the bottle. Apollo presses about the chips and learns that some are 1,000 points while others 100. Kristoph suggests there's something strange about that , so Apollo asks her to add it to her testimony. After another hint from Kristoph, Apollo discovers that the calculation of the chips doesn't match up. In order for them to add up to 7000, the smaller chips must be the ones worth 1,000.
"Good job, Justice. It's almost as if you figured that out yourself," Kristoph teases.
More importantly, if that's the case, another look at the scene shows that Phoenix was winning after all. And if Phoenix was winning, he has no motive for having killed Shadi. There's no reason Olga wouldn't have known that.
But Olga interrupts, and blurts out that there was cheating in the last hand. Both men had a full house, but since there were five aces played (there should only be four in a deck) it become obvious that someone cheated. That's why Phoenix attacked Shadi. After receiving an explanation from Kristoph on what a full house is, Apollo presents the table photograph again. Only four aces are visible after all. Since Olga seems so positive that there were five aces, Kristoph requests that they be able to inspect the cards themselves. By inspecting Shadi's cards, they find that four have red backs, but one has blue. When he shows the card Olga slips up, and mutters "I thought I put it in Mr. Wright's hand..." Kristoph pounces on the mistake and suggests that Olga dealt the cheating hand on purpose. She's probably even a professional.
Apollo runs with it, and accuses Olga of being the murderer. She passes out. Seeing that more investigation is needed before he can pronounce a verdict, the Judge starts to call for court to be adjourned. But before he can, a familiar "objection" fills the court, and Phoenix returns to the witness stand. Payne is baffled, but the Judge reminds him that things are always a little crazy when Phoenix is in the courtroom.
Phoenix talks about the cards, reminding them that Borscht Bowl Club uses red and blue cards. The final hand of his match with Shadi was played with the red cards, which would make the one blue card the one that was switched in. He asks Apollo when he thinks the card was switched. After some thought, Apollo says it was after the murder took place. Because the card backs are two different colors there's no way it could be switched during the game itself without someone noticing. But what purpose would that serve, to cheat after the match was over? And who did it? Shadi was already dead, and it wouldn't make sense if Phoenix or Olga did, as they would have known to put a red card into the hand, not a blue one. So it had to have been someone else - someone not yet mentioned in the case.
Court is adjourned for twenty minutes. In the lobby, Kristoph scolds Phoenix for his outburst (Kristoph: "I'd only ask that you leave the defending to your defense, in the future. Otherwise...I cannot guarantee the outcome"). While he leaves to consult with the Judge, Phoenix shows Apollo the locket with his daughter's picture inside (it looks like a young version of Trucy). He also explains to Apollo that winning in court is a lot like winning at poker: it's all about reading your opponent and knowing what they're thinking. For example, the witness, Olga, always rubbed her neck during a certain part of her testimony. Apollo didn't notice. But Phoenix insists that Apollo should be able to see these "tells" and use them to his advantage.
Lastly, Phoenix confesses that he still hasn't told the court the truth. He has his reasons, and he needs Apollo's "power" to make it through. They head back to court.
Olga is called back to the stand, and reveals her true identity as "Quick Fingers Orly", a professional card dealer. She says that Shadi was a professional poker player who hired her to help him ruin Phoenix's win record. The plan was to plant a card on him, and have Olga deal him an extra ace during the course of the game. When Phoenix played it he would be accused of cheating, and they would "discover" the planted card. But when the plan went down that night, they couldn't find the planted card. She still insists it was Phoenix that hit Shadi with the bottle.
Apollo presses. If they didn't find the planted card, what reason did Phoenix have to kill Shadi anyway? As Olga hesitates (rubbing her neck, as Phoenix had mentioned) Apollo gets a strange feeling. His sight focuses automatically on Olga's hand (using the Perceive System for the first time), and he asks her if she realizes she's doing it. Kristoph is confused (he didn't notice, either) but Apollo continues, saying that whenever Olga "remembers" something about that night, she reaches for her neck. He presents the grape juice bottle as the thing she's always talking about when she does it. It's almost as if SHE were the one hit by the bottle.
Payne and Kristoph both remark they've never seen a cross examination quite like this. Olga adds a bit to her testimony, insisting she didn't take her eyes off Phoenix from the time he hit Shadi until the police came. Apollo counters with Phoenix's cell phone, which he used to call the police right after the incident. He had to go upstairs to do so.
Olga falters, and admits that Shadi hit her with the bottle for failing him (since they couldn't set Phoenix up as having cheated). She claims she was unconscious until the police arrived, and by then Shadi was already dead. When the Judge asks Kristoph what he thinks of all this, Kristoph is quiet a moment, and then declares that the witness is simply lying. She was the only other person in the room with Phoenix and Shadi. She could have murdered Shadi to keep HIM from ruining HER reputation as a professional con.
Phoenix suddenly takes the stand with a chuckle. He's disappointed with Kristoph for being so careless - there's still the possibility of there having been a third person at the scene. Whoever switched Shadi's card after the fact couldn't have been someone who knew about the two decks. He declares this is the reason he's stayed silent until now: he wanted to lure that third person to court, where he couldn't use any tricks of his own to escape. After all, there is one person in court now that proved he thought the cards used in the match were blue. He asks Apollo if he's realized.
Apollo has, and presents Kristoph's profile. But he argues that of course Kristoph would know about the blue cards. Phoenix knows better. The original crime scene photo was only in black and white, and Kristoph's remark about the blue cards was said long before the color photo of the tabletop was shown. Kristoph himself is silent for a moment, and asks if Phoenix is actually serious. He assures him that he is.
Payne is still baffled, and says that Kristoph and Shadi had never met, so there was no motive. But Phoenix points out maybe they HAD met. In fact, maybe they met at Borscht Bowl Club the night of the murder. Realizing that Phoenix is finally ready to tell the truth, Apollo asks that he testifies.
Kristoph objects, saying that his testimony isn't necessary, as anything that happened before the poker game is irrelevant. But the Judge reminds him that Apollo is the defense attorney is in charge of the case, and the decision falls to him. Apollo asks that Phoenix testify. Kristoph stares straight ahead:
Kristoph: "Et tu, Justice? You would betray me, your teacher?"
Apollo: "I'm sorry, Mr. Gavin. This isn't about loyalty... This is about the truth!"
Phoenix finally testifies to what happened that night. He first had dinner with Kristoph, and five minutes after Kristoph left Shadi showed up to challenge him to the game. It happened as Olga testified, and after Olga was knocked out he went upstairs to call the police. When he came back down Shadi was dead, and bleeding from the forehead. Phoenix went back upstairs, but this time he called Kristoph, asking him to be his lawyer.
Kristoph comes to realize that this is what Phoenix wanted all along: to draw him out in the open. And here he had been doing his best to defend him. Phoenix assures that all he wants is for the truth to come out.
During the cross, Phoenix finally explains what happened to the "bait" card - he found it in his pocket before the last hand, and slipped it into an empty grape juice bottle. However, when Apollo shows off the bottle discovered at the scene, there's no card it in. Phoenix can't explain that, because he's sure he put the card in a bottle.
Apollo then presents the crime scene photo. Phoenix says he saw the blood on Shadi's forehead, but when the police arrived Shadi was wearing his hat. Phoenix explains that easily, saying HE was the one that put the hat back on in the first place, but that's the only thing he touched on the scene. He's the only one who would have seen Shadi's bald, bloodied head. Kristoph, maintaining excellent composure, calmly calls his client a liar.
Kristoph: "I'm beginning to see how you came to lose your attorney's badge seven years ago..."
Phoenix: "Well. You certainly have a unique way of treating your clients, Kristoph. I never knew."
Kristoph: "I believe it was you who threw the first stone...?"
Apollo interrupts, insisting that this is Phoenix's last chance to tell the truth. Phoenix replies that he is. He put the hat back on the victim for one reason, and it has to do with the conversation he had with Kristoph over the phone the night of the murder. Luckily, he even taped it, and plays it back for the court. In the conversation, Kristoph mentions Shadi's "flawless bone china pate" of a head. Apollo catches on, and asks how Kristoph would know about Shadi being bald, if Shadi had his hat on all night. Phoenix confirms his hunch, and goes on to say that it caught his attention as well. That's why he returned to the scene and replaced the hat.
The Judge decides they have no choice but to hear Kristoph himself testify, and calls another recess.
Apollo returns to the lobby alone, as Kristoph and Phoenix are called to the Judge's chamber. While there he meets a young girl in a magician outfit. She asks for him to pick a card, any card, and he does. She then delivers the message, "The last battle is about to start. You'll need a trump card." The card is the ace of spades, and on it is a single drop of blood. Before leaving, the girl asks Apollo to take good care of her dad.
Back in court, Kristoph takes the stand and agrees to "play along." Suddenly, Phoenix jumps behind the defense desk with Apollo. He calls it a "turnabout of positions." He reminds the court that there's only one point that evening in which Shadi wasn't wearing his hat, and that was the moment of the murder. Only the killer should know that.
Kristoph chuckles, and confesses that he hasn't been telling the truth until now. He was holding back for Phoenix's sake, but now that he's been put on the stand himself there's no reason to hide the truth any longer. He testifies that he returned to the restaurant after leaving the first time, having sensed something off about Shadi. When he peeked into Narazumo's Room through the tiny spy window he saw Olga unconscious, and Phoenix standing with the bottle next to Shadi's dead body. Just as he left, Phoenix called him.
During Apollo's cross, Kristoph says he didn't just go to the door because he didn't want Phoenix to be mad at him for interrupting the game, were his concern misplaced. He didn't tell the police this earlier because he didn't see the murder itself, and also because he wanted to protect Phoenix as his friend. He didn't see any supposed "third party" that Phoenix has been testifying to, and if fact challenges the idea that there was one. The only proof of such a person is the switched blue card. Why would a killer go to the trouble to do that anyway?
Apollo presents the ace that the mystery girl gave him. The Judge is startled to find the blood on it, and asks if this could be the Ace that the killer supposedly took from the scene. Kristoph's composure finally falters a little as he demands to know how Apollo got his hands on such evidence. Phoenix explains that he picked it up from the scene, and handed it off to his daughter for safe keeping. Kristoph objects and declares the evidence to be fraudulent. But Phoenix says the only one who could prove it was fake is the killer himself, which shuts Kristoph up pretty fast.
Phoenix goes on to explain that the blood on the card is its most important feature. As is apparent on the second of the crime scene photos, blood dripped down the back of Shadi's head, where it must have dropped onto the ace. Kristoph continues to insist that the evidence is fake, and the blood can have nothing to do with why it was slipped out of Shadi's hand.
Phoenix objects with a dramatic point, claiming that simple logic can explain it. He turns the focus back to Apollo, asking if he's figured out what it is about the ace that makes it contradict with the current testimony. Apollo points out that the blood on Shadi's head was going back, but since he was facing the table the cards were on, the blood would have dripped onto the floor, not onto any card. Phoenix informs them that the chairs swivel, which would explain the contradiction. Shadi was facing AWAY from the table when he was struck. But since Phoenix found the body facing the table, the killer must have turned him back around.
Next, Apollo points out the contradiction with their assumption of where the killer would have been. If the killer was on the other side of the table, he couldn't have struck Shadi in the forehead (as he was facing the wall). In fact, the only place the killer could have stood is where the cabinet is. And the only way to explain that is if the cabinet wasn't there. Phoenix asks the Judge to contact the police and have them investigate the cabinet right away. He also hands off a note to the bailiff asking for them to check one other thing as well.
Meanwhile, they view the overview of the crime scene. The only place for the cabinet to move is toward the corner of the room, making a space for someone to stand. But that raises a new contradiction on the map: with the cabinet moved into the corner, the small spy window would have been blocked, meaning that Kristoph could not have witnessed the scene where he said he did.
The bailiff reports back, saying that the police investigated the basement, and discovered a secret passage behind the cabinet! The room used to be use for secret criminal activity, after all. Thus, the only place where Kristoph could have seen the scene is from within the room itself. He had to have stepped into the room.
Apollo outlines the events of the evening. Shadi and Olga tried to cheat, and failed. Shadi knocked Olga out with the bottle. Phoenix left to call the police, and while he was upstairs the secret passage opened up. When Shadi turned around to see, he was struck in the forehead, falling back in his chair. A drop of blood fell from his head to the ace on the table. Then the killer removed the ace from the table, knowing the blood drop would give him away. He never stepped completely into the room, which is why he was unaware of the red cards.
The Judge is convinced, and starts to say that Phoenix must be innocent. But Kristoph objects, smiling, amazed that he's fallen for the tricks of an infamous, underhanded lawyer like Phoenix Wright. He presents the wine bottle to remind everyone of the upside-down fingerprints. But Apollo can explain. He presents the picture Olga took of Phoenix and Shadi in the restaurant. There's a whole crate of bottles under the piano bench where Phoenix is sitting. If Phoenix reached down from his seat to pull up one of them, his fingerprints would fall on the neck in an unnatural way. Since Phoenix was drinking the grape juice at dinner earlier, the killer could have swapped the murder weapon with any of those bottles.
Kristoph just shakes his head. He challenges Apollo to present proof that he did such a thing. Phoenix interrupts again to ask the Judge if the police carried out the second search he passed off to the bailiff: "check the bottle under the piano." In fact, the police brought it back. Phoenix asks Apollo to check it out. Apollo hesitates: there's no way Kristoph would be careless enough to leave his fingerprints on the bottle, if it is the real murder weapon. But Phoenix glares at him suddenly, and demands, "Just humor me."
Apollo does so, and discovers in the bottle the five of hearts - the "bait card" that Phoenix had tucked away earlier. It proves the bottle was switched. And the only one who could have done that was someone who not only was at the restaurant (and didn't know about the blue cards), but also someone who knew that Phoenix's fingerprints would be on that bottle. Someone like Kristoph, who ate dinner with Phoenix and witnessed him drinking from those bottles that very night.
Kristoph breaks down, pounding the witness stand: "Is this your idea of revenge, Phoenix Wright? Revenge for the events t hat took away your attorney's badge seven years ago!"
Kristoph leaves the stand, and confesses everything. The Judge reflects on the case, realizing that Shadi Smith and the reason he was murdered remains a mystery. All Phoenix is willing to say is that Kristoph is an important person to him, as a friend as and as a lawyer. In order to combat him he needed two things: a setting that couldn't be tampered with (court) and a person who couldn't be tampered with (Apollo). He looks forward to seeing what Apollo can do as a lawyer from now on.
The Judge declares Phoenix Wright Not Guilty.
Back in the lobby, Phoenix thanks Apollo. He couldn't have done it without Apollo, as there's an "ability" he has that Phoenix doesn't. Apollo tries to ask him about that, but Phoenix says he has to find the answer himself, in regards to Kristoph as well. The clue to the case is the locket. Phoenix admits that Apollo was right about the locket - he did steal it from Shadi. But the girl in the picture really is his daughter, and that's why no one questioned that it wasn't actually his.
Phoenix invites Apollo to come to his office, now that Gavin Law Offices will be no more. Apollo is momentarily confused, as he knows that Phoenix had his license stripped from him in some incident 7 years ago. There shouldn't be a Wright & Co. Law Office anymore. Phoenix admits he is no longer practicing. In fact, he asks if Apollo noticed the "fake" evidence shown in that day's trial: the bloody ace. There's no way that ace would have been at the scene, as Kristoph would have taken it to cover his tracks. That's why Kristoph was so adamant about it being false. It WAS a fake.
Apollo is horrified, and punches Phoenix in the face. But Phoenix is only quiet for a moment, and then gives Apollo his business card, telling him to come by the office if he changes his mind. "That punch...if it were me, I would have shouted 'take that!' along with it," he adds. "Today was fun."
Phoenix leaves, and thus ends Apollo Justice's first case.
|For seven years,
Phoenix never lost a game of poker at Borscht Bowl Club. It was that
reputation of his that led Shadi to want to take him down.
Shadi hired Olga, a professional gambler and
con artist, to help him do it. The plan was that Shadi would challenge
Phoenix to a match. Olga would slip the 5 of hearts into Phoenix's
pocket. Then, near the end of the match, she would deal a fixed hand so
that Phoenix had 3 aces and Shadi 2, thus making 5 aces - an obvious
sign of cheating (as there are only four aces in any deck of cards). By
searching Phoenix and "discovering" the 5 of hearts, Phoenix's reputation
would be ruined.
Angered that his plan had been thwarted,
Shadi grabbed up the grape juice bottle and knocked Olga out.
Phoenix left the pair of them to go upstairs, so he could call the police
on his cell phone.
Why Kristoph killed Shadi, and why Phoenix was so determined to expose him, remain a mystery.