Julianna Margulies Calls 'The Good Wife' Shooting Schedule 'Inhuman' (Video)

Julianna Margulies
Joe Pugliese

Marguiles, on the demands placed on her as the lead of a network drama: "I shoot 23 episodes a year, and it's all legal dialogue. IT's so inhuman what they want you to do ... I'll learn it at 11 o'clock at night, and then I show up at 7 a.m. and they've changed it again."

Starring in a network drama is exhausting work -- something Julianna Margulies has learned several times over, now heading into the fourth season of CBS' The Good Wife.

The 45-year-old reigning Emmy winner for drama actress, in the company of fellow contenders Claire Danes, Emmy Rossum, January Jones, Kyra Sedgewick and Mireille Enos, spoke about the pressures of her rigorous schedule during The Hollywood Reporter's recent Emmys roundtable.

PHOTOS: THR's Emmy Roundtable: Drama Actresses Portraits

"I shoot 23 episodes a year, and it's all legal dialogue," said Margulies. "It's so inhuman what they want you to do."

Margulies started on the series in 2009 when her son Kiernan was just over a year old. His growing up has only added to her issues.

"There are days when... I had worked until midnight and then I had to go and shoot something else at five in the morning," she said. "I looked at my husband and I was like, 'This is why Judy Garland was on pills. I can't keep this up. I need a pill!'"

The comment got a charge from her peers, as did the suggestion of green tea.

PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of THR's Emmy Roundtable: Drama Actresses Cover Shoot

"As much as I'd like to pretend it's an ensemble, it's not," she said. "It's The Good Wife, and if the good wife goes down, there's no show!"

To that end, Marguiles says she's spoken with her "incredibly receptive" showrunners Robert and Michelle King about limiting her time in unnecessary scenes.

"My biggest challenge has been to say, 'Guys, guess what? I can't be in the background of so-and-so's scene,'" said Marguiles. "That would give me two hours with my kid. Or, how about an hour to sleep, go to the gym. Or learn a line or two. I have to prepare and have a life. Sitting in a court scene for 14 hours without a line … is craziness. So they're going to work on that."

Watch the uncensored video of Marguiles in THR's roundtable below and read the full cover story here: