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This page covers the first game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and the trilogy as a whole. Beware unmarked spoilers!

Take moments specific to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, Apollo Justice, the Investigations series, Dual Destinies, The Great Ace Attorney, Spirit of Justice, or the 2016 anime to their own pages, please.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney


Turnabout Sisters

  • Mia's first Big Damn Heroes moment when she comes back from the dead and drives her own killer into a Motive Rant, thus saving Phoenix from a false conviction.
  • When you cross-examine a witness who you know is the real murderer, after you've already forced him to alter his testimony several times, making him very nervous, you can press him when he talks about the way the victim moved before being killed. This results in this dialogue:
    Phoenix: What did you do then?
    Redd White: I gave chase, of course! ...! No! No! Not me. Th-the killer, I mean! He gave chase!
    • The best part? This does not get him convicted, making this moment completely optional, not required to complete the case.
  • That entire case warrants a mention, as it is the first real case. It's wonderfully designed to give you a great pang of satisfaction when you put all the puzzles together and lay down the law.
  • Mia coming back from the dead for the first time. This leads the court into a recess, and Phoenix asks her what to do... and then she says "You've already won". She updates one of your pieces of evidence, and there is something strangely tensely satisfactory about coming back into court and knowing exactly what to do. It goes from hopeless to triumphant so quickly that it's truly fantastic, and seeing the reactions of the prosecution and the witness as you make the point none of them knew about...just. Awesome.
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  • What you do to get Redd White to confess. You read off a list of famous people, who are implied to be all the people White blackmailed over the years, and threaten to hand the list over to the press unless he confesses. That's right, you just won the case by blackmailing a man who built his entire career on blackmail. A satisfying case of Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • The very fact that Phoenix Wright went up against one of the most powerful people in the country, who essentially had the legal system under his thumb, and was represented by a seemingly-undefeatable prosecutor, all while defending himself...and won.
  • The formation of Wright and Co. Law Offices with Maya, Mia, and Phoenix.

Turnabout Samurai

  • A retroactive one for Wendy Oldbag, who apparently tackled and beat the shit out of a paparazzi to steal a damning photo of Jack Hammer. For all that's said about her age, that's pretty damned impressive.
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  • Gumshoe's Big Damn Heroes moment, where he saves your can from the mafia.
  • There's a lot from the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series to choose from, but one of the best is when Edgeworth raises an objection to a trial that he's won just because he's ultimately more interested in finding the real criminal, and he still suspects the witness on the stand did it (she did). More than once. Including to point out a glaring hole in the testimony that everyone else somehow managed to miss.
  • When determining the motive. The Smug Snake witness declares that there's no motive for her to kill Hammer. At which point Phoenix presents the evidence, and he and Edgeworth team up to kick the witness's ass. This sets up a pattern for most of the main cases in the trilogy.

Turnabout Goodbyes

  • Of all people, Larry Butz's Just in Time save during the trial. It happens out of nowhere and is something both unprecedented and unwanted by von Karma. Von Karma carefully calculated every factor of the trial like he usually does...except for Larry.
  • The scene where Manfred Von Karma mockingly suggests to a beaten Phoenix that "perhaps you'd like to cross-examine the parrot for a little comic relief?" And Phoenix takes him up on his proposal. And it works!
    • Note, however, that von Karma probably had planned for that as well. He actually retrained said parrot and he was about to bring up the death of Gregory Edgeworth anyway, parrot or no parrot.
  • While Phoenix himself doesn't really have a specific moment, stop and think about what he accomplished at the end of the fourth trial. Against a prosecutor who not only never lost, but had only ever received one penalty throughout the forty years of his legal career, Phoenix gets an acquittal... for a crime which his client confessed to, singlehandedly handing Von Karma his only defeat and derailing 15 years of planning. That's why we call him Ace Attorney.
    • Also, defeating Von Karma by pulling out a METAL DETECTOR, running it over his body, then bringing up the ballistics marking that Von Karma himself taught Phoenix about? PRICELESS!
    • Getting von Karma found guilty led to solving a case that had gone unsolved for almost fifteen years while being actively and maliciously obstructed from doing so in under a week. Yes, that's right, an attorney with less than a year of experience under his belt solves a case that went without any progress for so long. He solves this case on the LAST DAY it is able to be opened up for investigation. As in a single day later would have been too late.
    • The mere fact that Phoenix even survives the first few testimonies is a moment. Manfred von Karma is a nightmare to go up against, objecting to almost everything Phoenix says and denying every single inquiry that Phoenix attempts to make, AND backing it all up with a nearly airtight case. Somehow, the rookie lawyer with a mere three cases under his belt holds on against a man called The God Of Prosecution and BEAT him.
  • Related to the above, Gregory Edgeworth gets a Moment of Awesome in the backstory for being the first person to ever get Manfred von Karma penalized during a trial, destroying his perfect and to that point unblemished record.
  • Edgeworth realizing the bloodcurling scream he heard fifteen years ago - and every night since then - was Von Karma's.
  • Right after Edgeworth confesses to killing his father and they all sit out in the lobby...
    Maya: "...? Nick? What are you doing?"
    Phoenix: "Huh? Oh... I was just reading through the court record once more. I'm getting my case ready."
    Maya: "Your case... for what?"
    Phoenix: "Huh? Isn't it obvious? I'm going to prove that Miles Edgeworth is innocent."
    • And then, a little later:
      Phoenix: "I'm sorry, Edgeworth. But I don't believe your 'nightmare.' It's just a dream. It's not real. The truth is right here in this court record. In any case, tighten your belts. The real fight is just beginning. I'll prove you're innocent. Trust me."
  • When the noose starts to tighten around von Karma's neck.
    Judge: I permit the use of the metal detector. Mr. von Karma, you WILL submit yourself to testing!
  • Edgeworth's trial for murder is a BIG Moment of Awesome for the Judge, of all people: Phoenix points out two facts that give his argument weight, but prosecutor Manfred von Karma dismisses them both as coincidences with no weight in the case. The Judge then answers that Prosecutor von Karma has a point, a coincidence should not be admissible as evidence... However, he retorts "Two coincidences at the same time seems more like a pattern to me", and he allows Phoenix to continue his line of questioning. It's even more awesome when you realize that von Karma was, for all intents and purposes, running the whole trial, having intimidated the Judge into silence to the point where he even started trying to overrule objections on his own, to which the Judge only protests meekly. This moment marks the point where the Judge decides that he's had enough of von Karma's crap and takes the law back into his own hands, culminating in the moment directly above.
  • Edgeworth gets another Moment of Awesome when he, as a child, defended Phoenix in regards to him stealing money. It's pretty awesome to see Edgeworth side with the person that everyone else in the classroom is against, which could have very well ended with him sharing unfair persecution along with Phoenix. Instead, he successfully stands up to an entire classroom including his teacher and gets them to back down. He had more bravery as a kid than some people do for their entire lives. What makes this even more awesome is that he was the victim in that case. It was his money that was stolen, and yet he defended a kid whom everyone else, including the teacher had accused of the theft. One could say this foreshadows his (eventual) future as a man dedicated to pursuing the truth, no matter the cost, as his actions in Justice For All and beyond can attest to.
  • Maya taking the taser attack to try and let Phoenix get away with the evidence. It doesn't work, but she still manages to get the evidence needed to close the case.
  • Maya gets Phoenix out of von Karma's trap, by convincing the Judge to hold her in contempt of court instead.
  • Manfred von Karma's Villainous Breakdown has got to be one of the single most satisfying events in the entire series. Somehow him repeatedly slamming his head against the wall in frustration while simultaneously threatening to bury you with his bare hands just makes the whole thing even more awesome. What enhances it is that this is the first time Von Karma has EVER lost a case.
  • A bit of Awesome in Hindsight. So, we know that Edgeworth had severe PTSD after DL-6. We know he's repressing the memory of everything that happened in the elevator, and that he doesn't fully recall it or understand it until Phoenix presents enough evidence to explain what happened. Given that the magatama hasn't come into the games yet, but also considering the developments it receives in Apollo Justice and Dual Destinies, this could mean that the last day of this case boils down to breaking Edgeworth's Black Psyche-Locks.
  • Phoenix going full offense when naming his suspect in the murder of Gregory Edgeworth: Manfred von Karma, the "God of Prosecution" himself and the prosecutor for the current case. The court goes silent for a moment as the Judge and gallery process what exactly Phoenix is trying to pull off. It's the turning point in the case from which von Karma is unable to recover from, in spite of his numerous attempts. von Karma first tries to dismiss it as a ridiculous outburst, Phoneix fires back by citing his irregular vacation shortly after the incident. von Karma proceeds to demand evidence that he underwent surgery to have the bullet removed during his vacation, demanding that the doctor who operated on him be brought in to testify. When pressed further, Phoenix concludes that it would've been impossible for von Karma to have had the bullet removed from his shoulder... so he pulls out a metal detector in court to prove that he had been shot! von Karma claims that it's an invasion of privacy and refuses to have the metal detector ran over him... implicitly acknowledging that the bullet is still inside him. When von Karma asks for a suspension of trial, Phoenix reminds him that the statute of limitations runs out on that same day, and that von Karma himself was the one to say that it had to be ended right there. And to finish the job, when von Karma tries his last pitiful attempt to recover and attempts to claim that the bullet in his shoulder has nothing to do with DL-6, Phoenix says that he'll prove a link between the two... with evidence. Cue von Karma sweating bullets (no Pun intended).

Rise From the Ashes

  • On the first day of her trial, Lana Skye gives Phoenix some "advice"; a defense attorney should never trust their clients. Phoenix sets her straight:
    Phoenix: Ms. Skye, you... You remind me a lot of Mia. But there is one decisive difference between you and her.
    Lana: And that is?
    Phoenix: You're not a defense attorney.
  • Gant's Epic Stare Of Death. It pierces the soul.
  • When Edgeworth explains the King of Prosecutors trophy. "Cross Examination ~ Moderate" plays while he's explaining, until a contradiction appears in the story. Phoenix actually objects to it, and "Pursuit ~ Cornered" starts playing. Awesome.
  • Edgeworth usually deals with his witnesses via Politeness Judo, particularly when going in for the kill, which makes it all the more epic when he tells the Chief of Police, who earlier waived away his right to testify, to simply sit there "and let the noose tighten around your neck."
    • Made even better by an Edgeworth line before that. Gant tells Edgeworth to be a good little boy and shut his mouth. Edgeworth shuts him down, allowing the case to move forward without Lana's forced confession.
    • Then, of course, there's this, when Lana is blackmailed by Gant and tries to end the trial prematurely:
      Lana: "Mr. Edgeworth. I am exercising my right to self-representation. I don't think...
      Edgeworth: "I don't care what you think."
  • The entire ordeal with Meekins' testimony relating to how the same victim who was murdered in the parking lot was apparently also murdered in the evidence room at the exact same time. In the end, Phoenix proves that there was no such murder in the evidence room...only for Edgeworth to reveal that this is the outcome he wanted, since this means the only murder was the one in the parking lot that Lana is on trial for committing. In other words, Edgeworth got Phoenix to throw all suspicion back onto his own client.
  • Gant's Villainous Breakdown. When the guy is flinging lightning, you can't argue with that. His other breakdown scene (the mad clapping) is also probably one of the more memorable breakdowns of the series to boot.
  • Speaking of Gant, the way Phoenix catches him is some impressive stuff - first turning his "insurance" piece of fake evidence against him, then highlighting the evidence law he was trying to use against Phoenix to deliver the final blow. Hoist by His Own Petard indeed.
    • How did both Phoenix and Edgeworth manage to pin Police Chief Damon Gant as the true culprit? Well... See, Damon Gant was pretty much built up to be all but untouchable by the time he takes the stand, starting it off by immediately saying that he can refuse to testify at any point. Not to mention that Lana Skye, right up until recently, was still vehemently taking the blame for the murder because he openly threatened to put Ema away for murder, while he was still on the witness stand. Throughout the trial (which has Phoenix and Edgeworth teaming up to take him down, which is already a Moment of Awesome in and of itself), the culprit has pretty much turned into a Devil in Plain Sight, constantly mocking you while the stakes keep getting higher.
    • Until Damon Gant decides to end this charade by presenting his 'insurance' in the final trial. He first accuses Phoenix of concealing evidence, but he denies it. But the moment he reveals his insurance, Phoenix finally reveals it, seemingly proving that Ema's the real killer. Damon's plan is trap Ema and Phoenix by using his 'insurance' to make out Ema as Neil Marshall's accidental killer and make Phoenix lose his job and face jail time. Unfortunately for him, Phoenix manages to turn the tables on him by using his so-called 'insurance' as his demise. Phoenix reveals that he found the cloth cut out of Neil's jacket in Damon's office and reveals that it's a forgery since the cloth has no blood on it, meaning that Damon cut it out of Neil's jacket before he was impaled to death. Finally, when Damon accuses Phoenix of presenting illegal evidence, the latter responds that he couldn't present it due to the evidence law that came up on Day 1 of the trial. The cloth did not have police approval and had no link whatsoever to the case until Damon revealed his insurance and admitted that he was at the crime scene where Neil was murdered, therby both proving his involvement in the crime and giving the cloth the Chief of Police's personal approval.
    • Long story short, even though the piece of cloth had Ema's fingerprints on it, since Neil was impaled to death by a sword, it should have had blood on it. Since Damon's the one who cut out the cloth, he unintentionally revealed that he's the true murderer. Needless to say, when he finally falls into Phoenix's trap while Phoenix and Edgeworth move in and seal the deal, it's one of the most satisfying moments of the series.
    • To top it all off, Phoenix is completely calm in the entire confrontation with Gant. There's no Indy Ploy, he doesn't need any Divine Intervention, Phoenix has Gant completely caught and he's done it all by himself.
      Gant: I'm looking forward to pressing charges after the defendant is convicted. I'll have your badge, boy!
      Phoenix: ...
      Gant: What's the matter, cat got your tongue? Aren't you going to tell us how it feels? How it feels to be the one who single-handedly turned a poor little girl into a murderer!?
      Phoenix: ...Before I do that... there's one little thing I have to clear up.
      Gant: Oh? What's that?
      Phoenix: Who really killed Prosecutor Neil Marshall.
  • The Judge's "The Reason You Suck" Speech he gives to Gant at the end. He may be a Cloudcuckoolander sometimes, but does his job right. Gant agrees as he'll be alright since he has Phoenix and Edgeworth to help him out the case.
    Judge: I'm sorry too, Damon Gant. I knew you as you used to be, long ago. You were once a fine investigator, and an example to others on the force. I'm sorry to learn that you are no longer that person.

Multiple games

  • The first cases you played through, no matter which game. The incredible satisfaction of taking down the witnesses lies one by one, driving him/her slowly mad until they explode with fury, and winning. When you were not spotting lies in the testimonies, you were extremely cautious and afraid of receiving a penalty, and while the games are not time based, you felt a damn high pressure yourself as everything depended on you.
  • Gumshoe gets one in all three games - usually even two! Let's tally - bursting in to save you from being lynched by Vasquez's mob (1-3), finding Yanni Yogi no matter what it takes (1-4), letting you investigate Gant's office even knowing he'll lose his job (1-5), chasing De Killer to save Maya (2-4) and then, in the same case, stealing the evidence(!!) to save her, saving you from Tigre and bring in a crucial piece of evidence (3-3), fixing the bridge (3-5)... It's almost too many for one character. For the many Big Damn Heroes this guy brings, where is his raise? It (allegedly) comes in AAI2. Edgeworth tells him to look forwards to his next paycheck; there has been a... substantial increase.
    • As someone in the character page pointed out, Shelly De Killer during the events of 2-4 is armed and has a hostage, and it's revealed in Investigations that he can take on an entire bodyguard team by himself... but he flees from the police and Gumshoe. Either he was being overly cautious, or Gumshoe is a worse threat than an entire squad.
  • Maggey Byrde's entire existance is nothing but bad luck; falling out of the 9th floor of her apartment building as an infant, getting hit with all sorts of vehicles, getting sick from multiple food poisonings, basically being life's punching bag. But she stays with a stiff upper lip about it. THAT woman is tough, no matter what.
    • On that note, her actually surviving said fall from the 9th floor at that age. That, ironically enough, takes a load of luck.