Franziska von Karma, like her father Manfred von Karma, is a cruel, perfectionist prosecutor who will stop at nothing to earn a guilty verdict. She carries around a whip, brandishing it against anything that irritates her, regardless of situation. Detective Dick Gumshoe is her assistant, although Franziska generally looks down upon Gumshoe, and Gumshoe is usually scared of being whipped and scolded by her. Franziska also carries a habit of calling people by their full names.
Franziska von Karma was born and raised in Germany (or the United States, in the Japanese version.) She studied to be a prosecutor, like her father. She was considered a prodigy, becoming a prosecutor at 13.
By age 18 she was very well known and respected. She came to the United States (Japan in the Japanese version) out of a desire to best Phoenix Wright, wanting to prove herself better than her father, Manfred, and her brother, Miles Edgeworth. Despite her efforts, she lost, and her perfect winning streak was spoiled, a fact which she refused to accept.
Before her third trial against Phoenix Wright, Franziska was shot by Shelley de Killer, an assassin who wanted to do Wright a "favor" by weakening his opposition. Although she attempted to continue the trial, she was taken to the hospital and Edgeworth took her place as prosecutor. Following a recovery, she returned to deliver new evidence, helping Edgeworth win the case.
After the trial, she was shocked to find neither Edgeworth nor Wright cared about "winning" or "losing" the case, in contrast to her own ideology that winning matters more than anything else. In response, she left the country, swearing to return.