Mike Rezendez, portrayed in Spotlight by Mark Ruffalo, was a relentless reporter who would always put in the extra effort needed to get information from a source. When the members of the Spotlight team first introduced the idea of interviewing Mitch Garabedian, the other two reporters shied away from the thought. Rezendez, however, was more than willing to look into the lawyer and talk to him about the scandal.
At first, Garabedian was very dismissive of Rezendez, answering every one of his questions by saying that he was “very busy” and that he had no time to talk with him. After encountering Garabedian in the street on a later day, Rezendez followed him around, and pried for answers. He realized how valuable of a source Garabedian could be for the story and was persistent in seeking him out for information. His relentlessness with the lawyer ultimately helped him get interviews with some of the victims of the church.
As Rezendez badgered him, Garabedian began to slowly open up to him, giving the spotlight team a better view into the scope and specifics of the corruption in the Catholic Church’s system. Rezendez continued to follow up with Garabedian after the initial interviews with him and the victims. During a recess in the court regarding the Boston Globe’s case to unseal documents that the church had hoped to cover up and close, another conversation with Garabedian led Rezendez to information that many of the most damning sealed documents were about to be made public as a part of Garabedian’s case.
Rezendez was often portrayed as a workaholic in Spotlight, running to work on the weekends, and constantly interviewing and following up with sources. If not for his persistence, it is likely that the story they were working on would not have come to fruition in the manner that it did.
The relationships he built with Mitch Garabedian and former priest, Richard Sipe, unveiled a lot of information that was vital to the story. Without his work with those two, the Globe might not have gotten to the information or the story before other publications could, and they might not have realized the size and scope of the story to begin with.
In the beginning of the film, the Spotlight team was amazed to find four priests molesting children, but conversations with Sipe showed that the scandal was more than 20 times the size of that in Boston alone. Rather than writing a story on a few bad priests that were harming children, the team uncovered a “psychiatric phenomenon” that would spark scandals involving high members of the clergy in Boston, as well as hundreds of other cities across the world.