Spotlight is given a case about priests in North America, who have been and are sexually abusing children. That is the main conflict. They have to work around the case carefully in order to not get caught by someone from the outside, who they do not trust. The Catholic Church obviously cannot be trusted. Therefor they speak to survivors of the pedophilia from the priests, in order to get the full picture. The biggest issue for Spotlight may have been that the Church is very sly and unreliable, so they are always at high risk of people turning against them, while turning to the Church. The very minute they knew that the documents they needed to prove all their statements were public, one of the members of Spotlight ran down to the court house to be the first one to get to them. If that does not explain the amount of stress that the Boston Globe was under about this case, then I do not know what is. Going against the church in one of the biggest and most catholic countries in the world is not something you do lightheartedly without proof.
I personally feel that the protagonist of this story was Robby. While I do understand that he was sent a very important list of names of priests that were guilty of pedophilia far too long ago before this story came to life, I also think that that particular case needed to happen when it happened. Good timing comes and goes, and while he had the chance back then, the timing came back to him and the team, and they did a remarkable job that made a huge impression. Speaking of timing, he was also very sure of himself every time he said that something was not ready to be done yet, and if he did not have that sureness to him, then I think I’d be writing another answer to this question.
Now, the antagonist. I am going to have to say the Church, and every devil in it that dared to abuse children is the definite antagonist in this story. They could have saved themselves from all the hate the probably received after Spotlights’ store was out, if they had only dealt with the guilty priests the second, they found out about their behaviors. I feel that they would even be more respected if the Church didn’t just move all those pedophiles around the world, instead of handling the damage they caused. So many lives could have been saved, and so many children could have been spared if they had only kicked those priests out of the church and into a jail cell. They may be men of God, but that does not mean that they should have a right to traumatize thousands of lives.