*Andre Braugher is returning to NBC for his first appearance on “Law & Order: SVU” tonight (airing at 10/9c), and will just so happen to reunite with an actor – and character he has worked with before.

“It’s kind of funny because Munch has been in both of these worlds, and here I am basically in Munch’s world appearing as someone else, so there’s a cute little meet and greet,” Braugher tells TVGuide.com of his reunion with “Homicide: Life on the Street” co-star Richard Belzer. “I say, ‘Have we met?’ There’s a glimmer before we get down to brass tax in the show basically to acknowledge we know each other and that we spent a significant amount of time together.”

As TV Guide reports, it’s been almost 12 years since Braugher retired his badge in the 2000 “Homicide” TV movie, and although his co-star is still portraying the same wise-cracking cop, Braugher’s Det. Frank Pembleton is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the two-time Emmy winner will guest-star in three episodes as Bayard Ellis, a well-known defense attorney who made his money defending drug kingpins and now works pro-bono.

“Bayard Ellis is a lawyer with the resources and a real desire to represent defendants to make sure they get the kind of trial and the kind of defense that they deserve,” Braugher says. “Quite often the criticism of the state is that they choose defendants that don’t have resources and consequently bargain down the charges or prosecute those people who have no chance of really presenting a sturdy defense.”

Although Bayard’s presence will cause big problems for the SV unit, he’ll serve as a sympathetic ear (and maybe more) for Olivia (Mariska Hargitay).

“It’s been pretty well established over the years that it’s very hard for Olivia to create balance in her life. He is suggesting that he knows where she’s coming from and that the pursuit of justice and the defense of your clients in the pursuit of justice is all-consuming. As important as that work is, it’s also taxing and also drains all the participants of all their strength or energy,” Braugher says. “Right now, Bayard and Olivia are fellow travelers. Where it develops, I don’t know. But right now, he may be the enemy, but he’s not a villain.”