in the --- place

[in the --- place] {adv. phr.} As the (first or second or third,etc.) thing in order or importance; first, second, or third, etc. -Used with "first", "second", "third", and other ordinal numbers.

No, you cannot go swimming. In the first place, the water is toocold; and, in the second place, there is not time enough beforedinner.

Stealing is wrong, in the first place, because it hurtsothers, and, in the second place, because it hurts you.