NEW YORK — As the Showtime spy thriller “Homeland” comes to an end, Claire Danes hopes that her portrayal of a character with bipolar disorder helps destigmatize mental illness.

“I don’t think there have been many shows or many opportunities in pop culture to focus on people who are wired a little differently from most, and experience the world through such a different filter,” Danes told The Associated Press on the red carpet for the Showtime series’ eighth and final season Monday night at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Claire Danes

Actress Claire Danes attends the eighth and final season premiere of Showtime’s “Homeland” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Tuesday. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Danes, who plays CIA analyst Carrie Mathison, said she took seriously the task of playing the highs and lows of mania and depression. “I was really humbled by the process in my efforts to kind of make sense of it, and just have profound respect for people who live with this day in and day out,” Danes said.

“Homeland” has also helped explain the complexity of national security through the work of the intelligence community. Before each season, principal cast members and producers meet with intelligence professionals to discuss the issues that “keep them up at night.”

Danes said these are the people that help keep the world safer.

“I’m in the land of make-believe. You know, I take risks in a very qualified way. And these people do it for real. So, you know, all the respect in the world to them,” Danes said.

Mandy Patinkin, who portrays high-ranking CIA official Saul Berenson, shares that respect, calling members of the intelligence community “patriots like you’ve never seen in your life.”

The final season will be a family affair for Danes – her husband, Hugh Dancy, joins the cast, even if the couple don’t have any scenes together. “It was so, so wonderful to be able to share the show from the inside out like this with my husband.”

The final season of “Homeland” premieres Sunday on Showtime. Some of it was shot in Morocco to stand in for Afghanistan.

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