05/18/2012 AT 12:05 PM EDT
The courts ultimately will decide
how Noah Wyle will be punished for participating in a Medicaid protest
in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
But even if the law turns out not to be on his side, the actor still has the approval of one important judge: his 9-year-old son, Owen.
"I did talk to my son after I got released early the next morning," Wyle, 40, tells PEOPLE. "I called him before school, and I explained what happened and that I was okay."
Wyle says he "kind of explained it in as simple terms as possible, and I thought I was going on a little bit too long and I may have lost him, but as soon as I stopped talking, he just jumped in and said, 'I think you did the right thing, Dad.' "
For the star, whose show Falling Skies
begins its second season June 17 on TNT, it was all the approval he needed.
"It brought tears to my eyes then, and it does now thinking about it," Wyle says in the midst of promoting his show's second season. "It was great."
alum, who warned his ex-wife and kids that he might be arrested
("It's a pretty complex issue to try to explain to a 6- and a 9-year-old," he says), prepared for his inevitable brush with the law in small ways.
"You think about stupid things," Wyle says. " 'I've got to bring my driver's license, but I don't want to bring my wallet. I want to bring 100 dollars, but I don't want to bring too much extra cash,' little things like that. 'Don't carry your pocket knife today.' "
Adds the actor, "We should have brought food!"
Wyle, who was arrested just a month after his former ER
costar George Clooney
was handcuffed at a protest rally
outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, doesn't expect to be the last member of the cast to be arrested – "for social issues or otherwise," he says lightheartedly.
"I do think that there was something very unique about that particular cast of actors," he says. "All of us got politicized pretty quickly and felt comfortable standing up for whatever it was that we wanted to be involved in. So I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again and again and again."