"The pitch she's on is so high, and to maintain that hyper-vigilance is exhausting," she said. "But it's fun. I like her - she's smarter than I am, and definitely more bad-ass than I am. It's fun to wear her cape."
Danes added that she was initially worried about maintaining Carrie's "intensity" across multiple seasons.
"I wasn't sure about sustaining that... for possibly seven years," she explained. "I was unsure if it was almost too relevant and would be exploitational and confronting and too distressing.
"But, ultimately, I had not encountered a character that was so dynamic and specific for a very long time."
The 33-year-old suggested that her character's "CIA-speak" ultimately proved to be the most challenging aspect of playing the role.
"The good thing is that Carrie's under pressure a lot of the time, so if I'm under pressure it's useful," she suggested. "But still, there are times when I just want to jab a pencil through my ear."