'Homeland' star has a fan in the Oval Office

In "Homeland," Claire Danes plays a CIA agent suspicious of Iraq hero Damian Lewis (left). Mandy Patinkin also stars.

When you're on on a hit TV show, you get to go places.

In the case of Damian Lewis, who stars in Showtime's “Homeland,” those places include the White House, where Lewis attended a state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron in March.

“Obviously, I'm called in to consult on matters of homeland security. So then I drop everything and I go,” joked the actor Monday during the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills.

“You know, it was as much a shock to me as it was, presumably, to everyone else in this room that I was on that invitation list. I think it was just a serendipity. It was a British state visit to see the president, who happened to have this as his favorite show on TV at the time, and I’m a Brit playing an American part, and I kind of ticked a lot of boxes,” said Lewis, who plays a Marine freed by al-Qaeda after eight years who returns as a war hero, but with some serious baggage.

“But I did ask him and David Cameron, I said, 'When do you guys get to watch TV? Aren’t you supposed to be running the free world together? And because I hear, Mr. President, you really like the show.' And he said, 'Yes, Saturday afternoons, Michelle and the two girls, they go play tennis. I go into the Oval Office. I pretend I’m going to work, and I switch on ‘Homeland.’”