The actor says that he was scrutinized at an airport but was recognized by a security agent
Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage; Ronen Akerman/SHOWTIME

He’s an emerging star on TV’s hottest drama, but Homeland‘s Navid Negahban says he gets recognized in a most undesirable way.

The Iranian-born actor, 44, said because he often plays the bad guy – namely Homeland‘s terror mastermind Abu Nazir – airport security agents tend to scrutinize his passport, Negahban tells CNN.

Going through customs at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on his way to Toronto last year, the actor, who also had a recurring role on the series 24, says agents started to ask him a host of questions. And because he was tired, he said the very thing he shouldn’t.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ve been playing a most-wanted terrorist on TV’ and the minute the world ‘terrorist’ came out of my mouth, even the other people standing in line began looking,” Negahban said.

Luckily, a Customs and Border Protection agent was a big fan of the hit Showtime series and came to his rescue. “He looks at me and he says, ‘Oh, my God! I just saw the season finale and I love the show.’ Then he turns around and tells the other agents, ‘Look, Abu Nazir is here!’ ”

Homeland, which recently kicked off its second season, beat out four-time winner Mad Men to earn an Emmy for best drama on Sept. 23.