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Tony Goldwyn Hopes “Scandal” Costar Kerry Washington Offers 'Tips' on Playing a Lawyer on “Law & Order” (Exclusive)

The actor tells PEOPLE his new role as District Attorney Nicholas Baxter shares similarities to his former role as a TV POTUS on 'Scandal' — only this time, "I'm not having an affair"

<p>Danny Feld/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p>

Danny Feld/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Tony Goldwyn is stepping back into primetime politics — and though he doesn't have his Scandal leading lady Kerry Washington by his side, he knows he can count on her support.

Before the actor — who is best known for his starring role as President Fitzgerald Grant III opposite Washington on the seven-season ABC’s drama — kicks off his new tenure on NBC’s Law & Order as District Attorney Nicholas Baxter Thursday night, he talked to PEOPLE about whether he's discussed the role with his former costar.

“I'm a little hurt that she hasn't called me to give me some tips, but I'm sure they're coming,” he jokes about Washington, 47, who played Scandal's Washington, D.C., fixer Olivia Pope.

The on-screen couple, who were famously dubbed “Olitz," by fans, endured a "tortured love affair," as Goldwyn calls it, throughout the show's run from 2012 to 2018.

Related: Kerry Washington Jokes 'Scandal' Costars Scott Foley and Tony Goldwyn Were Mad 'for Years' over Kissing Answer

<p>Danny Feld/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington - Scandal

Danny Feld/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington - Scandal

In real life, the pair have remained close friends, and according to Goldwyn, Law & Order ought to have one more viewer in Washington now that he’s joined the cast.

“They better,” he says of the show's growing fandom. “That's all I can say."

Related: Kerry Washington Posts Adorable Selfies with 'Scandal' Costar Tony Goldwyn's for His 63rd Birthday

<p>Virginia Sherwood/NBC</p>

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

In fact, Goldwyn notes that playing DA Baxter actually “feels pretty similar” to playing the President of the United States — both characters come from “political families,” and they even dress the same.

“It's funny, I wear a lot of blue suits and nice ties,” Goldwyn says. “But just going into a system, an institution where I'm the chief executive, there are a lot of similarities and dealing with being the person whose job is to deal with intractable problems and to sort of steer the ship. I was really surprised how similar it felt to playing Fitz.”

<p>Nicole Wilder/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant in Scandal

Nicole Wilder/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant in Scandal

Though, that’s not to say there aren’t still a few key differences between the roles.

“My office is not as nice as Fitz’s was in Scandal!" Goldwyn kids.

And, he notes, “I think that Baxter isn't as troubled as Fitz. I get the feeling he doesn't have as much baggage — and as far as I know, he is not having an affair."

He adds, "But who knows what the producers are thinking for the future!”

Related: Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn Playfully Recreate Scandal Moment: 'Olitz Is Ready for You'

Of course, the Law & Order franchise has its own famous Olivia — Benson, that is — but Goldwyn thinks that Baxter would have more of a level head than Fitz. When asked if he thinks his two characters would get along, his emphatic answer is and emphatic: "Yes, absolutely."

“I feel like Baxter would probably be a pretty good friend to Fitz to go, 'Come on, dude. Get your life together!'" he says.

<p>NBCUniversal</p>

NBCUniversal

Goldwyn joins Law & Order following Sam Waterston’s departure from the show as DA Jack McCoy after 19 seasons, and he says inheriting the role from Waterston is a beautiful full-circle moment.

“‘It's a very singular experience to step into something that's such an institution and do it in a capacity where my character's very central now to the story," says Goldwyn. "Stepping into Sam's shoes — I felt honored to be doing that, so it was cool. I felt very excited and privileged.”

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Law & Order airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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